Peggy Guggenheim Collection Sees Record Attendance in 2016

It's a feather in the outgoing director's cap.

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, in Venice. Photo Andrea Mancini, via Flickr.

Venice’s Peggy Guggenheim Collection saw more visitors in 2016 than in any previous year. Some 413,499 people crossed the museum’s threshold during public hours, the greatest number since its opening in 1980. An additional 8,495 visited during after-hours receptions and other events. The museum also registered an 80 percent uptick in its social media during the same year.

The record is a feather in the cap of outgoing director Philip Rylands, who will finish a 16-year term as director in June. Rylands has been with the museum a total of 35 years.

Housed in an 18th-century palazzo on the Grand Canal, the museum features works by 20th-century masters including Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Wassily Kandinsky, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollock. Through recent gifts, the museum has added contemporary artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Jenny Holzer, Anish Kapoor, Anselm Kiefer, and Yoko Ono.

Peggy Guggenheim, the collection’s founder, is the subject of a 2015 documentary, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, that not only chronicles her history of art patronage but also looks frankly at her love life—which included affairs with many canonical artists—as well as the family’s troubled history.

That same year, the museum was forced to continue a legal battle in a French court with Guggenheim’s grandson Sandro Rumney, who is protesting the exhibition of other collectors’ holdings, which came to the museum as gifts.

Currently on view at the museum is “My Weapon Against the Atom Bomb is a Blade of Grass,” a retrospective of the Italian painter Tancredi Parmeggiani, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero. The exhibition runs through March 13.

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