The late, late shows: art galleries burn midnight oil for blockbusters
Soaring demand for Lucian Freud exhibition typical of growing thirst for art in the capital
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Friday 09 March 2012
The National Portrait Gallery has released thousands more tickets for its Lucian Freud exhibition in a bid to keep up with huge demand, as "blockbuster" art shows become the hottest ticket in London in the run-up to the Olympics.
The news follows a similar move by the National Gallery to extend opening times for its Leonardo exhibition, the enormous success of which led organisers to consider 24-hour opening. Experts predict that the public's appetite for art will see more exhibitions burning the midnight oil.
The National Portrait Gallery yesterday announced it had made 7,000 extra tickets available for "Lucian Freud Portraits", which opened at the beginning of February, after extending its Saturday opening hours. The exhibition, which has already seen 50,000 visitors, already opens late on Thursday and Friday.
It is expected to be a bumper year for art in the capital, with galleries planning further blockbuster shows. Among the most anticipated is a Damien Hirst retrospective at the Tate Modern. Denise Vogelsang, the National Portrait Gallery's head of marketing, said: "This year is such an incredible year for art in London. Galleries are increasingly looking to opening longer because there are so many blockbuster shows."
The National Gallery had desperate visitors camping out to get their hands on some of the 500 tickets for Leonardo released every morning until the exhibition closed.
The final attendance figures hit almost 324,000, the most popular and fastest-selling show for a National Gallery exhibition of that size.
Jill Preston, the gallery's head of communications, said: "Throughout the exhibition, there was a lot of pressure to open later. Even when we did, there was pressure to open later, even for 24 hours." In the final week, the gallery extended opening hours until midnight for two days "to mop up the queue". The idea of 24-hour opening was shelved, however, after it emerged that the delicate Leonardo paintings could not be exposed to the light for that amount of time and amid questions about staff working hours and gallery maintenance.
The Royal Academy has also seen queues for its exhibition of works by David Hockney. The show "A Bigger Picture" prompted the gallery to extend its opening times until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Institute of Contemporary Arts, it has emerged, has decided to go from a five-day operation to six and will open an hour earlier. The ICA will open from 11am rather than midday when its new exhibition "Remote Control" opens next month. ICA managing director Karen Turner said it was a "reflection of the increasing demand from the public".
filmIn Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: What we know about JJ Abrams' film
Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Plebgate: Andrew Mitchell’s reputation in tatters as judge rules he used the word ‘pleb’