V&A visits hit all time high
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.
Monday 16 April 2012
Last year the V&A had the most visits in its 155-year history, as the demand for cultural exhibitions in the UK continues to soar.
There were more than 3.3 million visits to the museum’s sites between April 2011 and the end of March this year, the second consecutive year of record numbers.
Martin Roth, director of the V&A, said it was “thriving” and the high visitor numbers “demonstrate the huge public interest in design, craft and the decorative arts”.
The majority – 2.8 million – visited the site in South Kensington, a tenth higher than a year earlier. The visits to the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green rose 5 per cent to 443,000. “It’s the variety of the exhibitions that have attracted people,” Mr Roth said. “It’s all about creativity and innovation.”
The past 12 months has seen huge demand for exhibitions in the UK, with galleries including the Royal Academy and National Portrait Gallery opening late to keep up with demand for blockbuster shows by artists including David Hockney and Lucian Freud. “We are in the golden age of museums and galleries,” Mr Roth said.
He took over as the head of the V&A in September replacing Sir Mark Jones who left the institution after a decade. Mr Roth, who had been director general of the Dresden State Art Collections, said: “This success of record visitor is largely down to Mark and the staff. This is really something.”
The museum, which is free but also has paid for exhibitions, is benefiting from its programme of restoration and overhaul. The so-called FuturePlan will continue, with the museum hopeful to finish the new space on Exhibition Road by 2016. Mr Roth said: “The whole aura and atmosphere has changed. That has been happening over the past decade.”
There has also been a series of successful exhibitions including one focusing on postmodernism, which had 115,000 visits, and the Cult of Beauty exhibition brought in 138,000. Yet, the most popular of the year, and the most popular free exhibition ever staged at the V&A was Power of Making, a joint exhibition with the Crafts Council with 320,000 visits.
The V&A was founded in South Kensington in 1857 and was designed to inspire British designers. Last year over 40 per cent of the visitors were working, teaching or studying in the creative industries.
Mr Roth said there was an on-going shift towards the British demand for cultural exhibitions and shows. “London is the global city of aesthetics, architecture and designers. It is a city of creativity.” He continued: “I think there has been a shift with people heading to galleries and museums and it will continue.”
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Tory activist asked to step down after Labour candidate Rupa Huq is 'manhandled' while questioning Boris Johnson on the campaign trail
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
The C-Word, TV review: Sheridan Smith shines in a warm, honest account of a woman enduring a still too common fate
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six: Make-up 'used to darken skin of actors to make them look Native American'
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils