It's official: Ai Weiwei is the world’s most popular artist
31 March 2020
The Art Newspaper has published its annual attendance survey, announcing 2019's most visited shows and museums. Amongst heavy-hitting shows across the globe, Ai Weiwei's touring exhibition in Brazil last year, launching at Oca in São Paulo, was the highest-ranking show by a single artist in their visitor figures survey for 2019.
The Chinese dissident’s travelling survey in Brazil – his first in the South American country and his largest exhibition to date – was a runaway hit and the highest-ranking show by a single artist in our visitor figures survey for 2019. More than 1.1 million people in total came to see the exhibition that started at Oca in São Paulo with stops in Belo Horizonte and Curitiba before landing at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil’s (CCBB’s) space in Rio de Janeiro, where it was seen by 9,172 visitors a day (around 600,000 in total). Ai’s greatest hits included his series of large-scale sculptures made from roots of the endangered Pequi Vinagreiro trees found in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Sadly, the display became all the more poignant against the backdrop of the fires that ravaged the Amazon rainforest last summer, peaking in August when the Rio show opened. Speaking to The Art Newspaper in December, Ai said: “Roots are the last evidence of what we have: a sad eulogy for human stupidity.”
Read the full analysis at theartnewspaper.com