Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Te Papa Surrealists attracts 75,000

India from Kingston, Wellington, views Salvador Dalí’s Couple With Their Heads Full Of Clouds, 1936, in Te Papa’s Surrealist Art: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen exhibition. Jo Moore.

Matthew Tso, Surrealists attract 75,000 visitors through Te Papa’s doors despite losing a month to lockdown, Stuff, 1 November 2021

The world’s greatest surrealist artists attracted nearly 75,000 people to Te Papa despite a nationwide lockdown closing the exhibition for a month.

With the total number of attendees able to fill Sky Stadium more than twice over, the national museum is hailing Surrealist Art: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which closed on Sunday, as a success.

“It was an important exhibition when New Zealanders were keen to see something important from overseas… the feedback from people was that they felt extremely privileged to see it,” said Te Papa head of art Charlotte Davy.

The largest stand-alone art exhibition ever hosted by Te Papa – with 180 works – began in June but lost 28 days of running time following the August lockdown. It spent a further 55 days allowing patrons in at reduced capacity during level 2.

Te Papa head of art Charlotte Davy said visitors appeared to have an affinity for Salvador Dalí, in particular. Supplied.

Before Covid-19 restrictions were introduced, Te Papa estimated 90,000 people would see the exhibition, this was revised to 65,000 after the lockdown.

“We ended up running [at full capacity] for less than three months in total – to have 75,000 people come through in that period is… very good for us,” Davy said.

The exhibition featured major works by artists such as Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Max Ernst, René Magritte, and Leonora Carrington.

Visitors saw major surrealist works such as Salvador Dalí’s Mae West Lips Sofa. JANNES LINDERS, SALVADOR DALÃ, FUNDACIÃ GALA-SALVADOR DALÃ, VEGAP.

She said New Zealanders appears to have a fascination with Dalí in particular.

“What I heard was people grew up with Dalí prints on their walls. They wanted to find out what it was like standing in front of one. New Zealanders really connected with it.”

While about a third of the works were by Dalí, Davy said attendees got to sample a wider selection of art from the surrealist movement.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. No claim is made as to the accuracy or authenticity of the content of the website. The Council of Australasian Museum Directors does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) which is provided on this website. The information on our website is provided on the basis that all persons accessing the site undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content. No responsibility is taken for any information or services which may appear on any linked web sites. Hostgator.