L.A. museums lag behind San Francisco in Art Newspaper survey of 2010 museum attendance


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By many measures Los Angeles now has one of the most vital art scenes in the world. So why do its leading art museums still lag behind counterparts in New York,Chicago and San Francisco, not to mention Paris and London, when it comes to general attendance?

That is just one question raised by The Art Newspaper’s international museum attendance survey for the year 2010, which will be published in its April issue.


With 1,205,685 visitors last year, the Getty Center ranked behind the leading museums in New York, D.C., and Chicago. It also trails the de Young Museum in San Francisco, which broke the 2-million mark for the first time ever last year thanks to two blockbuster exhibitions: King Tut and paintings from the Musée d’Orsay.

(Including the Getty Villa figures would bring its total to roughly 1.6 million. But by the same token, including attendance at the Legion of Honor, the de Young’s sister museum, would boost it to nearly 2.5 million.)

LACMA posted a 2010 attendance of 914,356, which puts it behind other encyclopedic museums like the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and just ahead of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Other L.A. museums, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Hammer Museum, did not make the cut of top 100 museums worldwide. Click here for the full story exploring the gap in museum attendance, and what L.A. museum directors are doing about it.


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--Jori Finkel