When it comes to art, the Brazilians know what they like... lots of it

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The South American country leads the way with the most popular art exhibitions in the world

Forget the cultural hotspots of New York, London or Paris. The most popular art exhibition in the world last year was in a gallery in Rio de Janeiro, where 9,700 people flocking through the doors each day to see works by Max Escher.

Brazilian art lovers poured into The Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB) in Rio by their thousands in 2011. The building, which was previously a bank, hosted three of last year's 10 most popular exhibitions, according to research by The Art Newspaper.

The touring exhibition The Magical World of Escher, which ran in Rio from January to March, was visited by 573,691 people. An exhibition by Japanese video and photographic artist Mariko Mori saw a daily average of 6,991, while a show on Laurie Anderson brought in 6,934. All were free to enter.

Brazil's contemporary art scene continues to strengthen. It was given huge state support in the 1990s when corporate tax breaks were introduced for cultural investment.

One particular supporter of the arts is mining magnate Bernardo Paz, who opened the 3,000-acre contemporary art site, Inhotim, in 2006 in Belo Horizonte. Last year Inhotim attracted a total of 770,000 visitors. The Art Newspaper called Brazil's appetite for contemporary art "remarkable".

The Art Newspaper survey first started in 1996 when a show would need about 3,000 visitors a day to make the top 10. This year, it was more than double that. Four million people went to see the top 10 exhibitions 16 years ago. Almost six million went in 2011.

While the CCBB's exhibitions proved more popular on a daily basis, three shows attracted more visitors in total last year, but over a longer period. The most popular exhibition by total number visitors was of Claude Monet at the Grand Palais in Paris, hitting 913,000.

Not a single exhibition in the top 20 was in the UK, although experts pointed out that the blockbuster da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery started in 2011 and ran over into the new year.

The most popular show proved to be one of Gauguin's work at the Tate Modern which brought in 4,000 visitors a day. A British artist did figure, however, with Anish Kapoor's Monumenta, also at the Grand Palais, attracting 6,967 people a day.

Pulling in the punters: The top 10 exhibitions

1. The Magical World of Escher, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio, 18 Jan-27 Mar

The show brought together the Dutch graphic artist's most famous prints and drawings. It included 95 of Escher works and took curator Pieter Tjabbes five years to convince the museum in The Hague to allow them to travel.

2. Kukai's World: The Arts of Esoteric Buddhism, Tokyo, National Museum, 20 Jul-25 Sep

Japanese monk Kukai is the founder of the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism in the early 800s, and used drawings to illustrate his teachings. The exhibition put 99 pieces on display.

3. Landscape Reunited, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2 Jun-5 Sep

A famous landscape painting executed in the Yuan dynasty was split in two, with one part kept in China and the other in Taiwan. The painting was reunited for the exhibition when China sent its piece over last year.

4. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 4 May-7 Aug

The exhibition to commemorate the British fashion designer's 19-year career was organised by the Costume Institute. It showed 100 of McQueen's ensembles

5. Claude Monet (1840-1926), Grand Palais, Paris, 22 Sep 10-24 Jan 11

The retrospective of the impressionist master's work mixed a range of famous and little known works among the 200 pieces. The range spanned his entire career from an emerging artist right up to his last pieces.

6. Photoquai, Musée du Quai, Branly, Paris, 13 Sep-11 Nov

The Photoquai is a biennial photography exhibition in front of theMusée du quai Branly. The exhibitions showcased pictures from 46 artists from all over the world.

7. Mariko Mori: Oneness, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio, 17 Apr-17 Jul

The exhibition of contemporary Mariko Mori's work in CCBB was the first time the contemporary Japanese artist's work had been seen in Brazil. It featured 10 installations which drew on engineering and cutting-edge design.

8. Monumenta: Anish Kapoor, Grand Palais, Paris, 11 May-23 Jun

The Bombay-born British sculptor was commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture to create an indoor art project to fill the vast Grand Palais exhibition hall.

9. Laurie Anderson, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio, 29 Mar-26 Jun

Multimedia artist Laurie Anderson displayed an eclectic mix of 31 works, including photographs, video, sound recordings, two and three dimensional instalments and footage of past performances.

10. The Prado Museum at the Hermitage State Museum, St Petersburg, 25 Feb-29 May

Visitors were able to see 66 works of art from the world-renowned Madrid Museum in the Nikolaevsky Hall of the Winter Palace in St Peterburg. It was the biggest exhibition organised of the works held outside Spain.

Arts and Entertainment
The Rolling Stones at the Roundhouse in London in 1971: from the left, Keys, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Mick Jagger

Music ...featuring Eric Clapton no less
Arts and Entertainment
In the dock: Dot Branning (June Brown); Union boss claims EastEnders writers are paid less than minimum wage


Arts and Entertainment
Roger Christian wrote and directed the 1980 Black Angel original, which was lost until 2011

Arts and Entertainment
Professor Green (Hand out press photograph provided by Camilla Gould)

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones reviewWarning: Spoilers aplenty
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

    Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

    But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
    Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

    Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

    Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

    Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

    Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
    England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

    England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

    In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)