New Dallas Museum of Art director Agustin Arteaga did a full-court press with his first major exhibition, ‘Mexico 1900-1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orozco and the Avant-Garde.’ He instituted the museum’s first crowdfunding campaign, which helped pay for public programs and community-outreach events including docent-led tours, an independent community-ambassador program called Yoy Soy DMA and even a Frida Kahlo-look alike celebration for the artist’s 110th birthday. Other notable features of the show – which originally was presented at the Grand Palais in Paris, where it was also one of their most visited exhibitions last year – included bilingual signs and two catalogs, one edition in English, the other in Spanish. But that bilingual effort began last fall and will continue at the museum.
The effort obviously paid off: ‘Mexico 1900-1950,’ which opened in March and closed July 16th, drew 125,894 visitors, making it one of the two highest-attended ‘special paid’ exhibitions at the DMA in the past decade. Those numbers raised the DMA’s attendance for the fiscal year to more than 800,000 – an increase of 10 percent since last year. The show presented an encyclopedic look at Mexican art’s wide-ranging renaissance in the 20th century, when its avant-garde artists adapted some of the country’s folk traditions – and gained international attention and influence.
Here’s the full release:
The Dallas Museum of Art Welcomes Over 800,000 Visitors in FY 2017
Landmark Presentation of México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo,
José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde Draws More than 125,000 Visitors
Dallas, TX – July 24, 2017 – The Dallas Museum of Art ended its 2017 fiscal year with its highest attendance in a decade and the second highest in the Museum’s history. The Museum welcomed 802,870 visitors in FY 2017, an increase of 10% since last year.
A key curatorial initiative of the year was the critically acclaimed presentation of México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde, which closed on Sunday, July 16, with a total of 125,894 visitors. The exhibition is one of the two highest attended of the Museum’s special paid exhibitions in the past decade and second only to the DMA’s presentation of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs in 2008.
“It is very exciting to have welcomed such a large number of visitors of all ages and backgrounds to the Museum to discover our collections, programs, and special exhibitions over the past fiscal year,” said the DMA Eugene McDermott Director Dr. Agustín Arteaga. “Our local community, as well as visitors from all 50 states and 71 countries around the globe, came to experience the range of cultures and histories represented in our collections and programs. We’re especially thrilled that the México 1900-1950 exhibition resonated so much with our diverse local audiences, many of whom had never been to the DMA before, and were eager to engage with these remarkable works of art. This encourages us to continue expanding our reach and invigorating our ties to our community. We thank all of our sponsors and supporters for helping us accomplish this exciting landmark.”
A significant component of the exhibition’s success is that is presented a new historical perspective on the Mexican explorations of the avant-garde and the role artists played in the construction of a movement that attracted world’s attention. It highlighted over sixty great artists, of which 20 percent were female, beyond the well-known figures of Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros, and Kahlo. First exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris, where it was also one of their most visited exhibitions in fall 2016, the DMA was the exclusive U.S. venue for México 1900-1950. The exhibition was organized in collaboration with the Secretaría de Cultura de México and curated by the DMA Eugene McDermott Director Agustín Arteaga.
The DMA published two editions of an exhibition catalogue, offered in English and Spanish, 5,500 copies of the illustrated catalogue, coordinated by the DMA and the Secretaría de Cultura/Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, were distributed. Bilingual content was offered throughout the exhibition galleries, part of an ongoing initiative by the DMA to include multilingual content across a variety of formats for DMA exhibitions and installations.
The community support for México 1900–1950 was evident prior to the opening when the DMA raised over $100,000 during its first crowdfunding campaign allowing the public to become part of the presentation of the exhibition. The campaign, Destination Dallas, helped support a series of public programs and community events tied to the exhibition including numerous on-site programs for visitors such as 315 docent-led tours, after hour programs like the Museum’s Late Night in May which saw over 2,700 visitors in six hours, and most of all it gave ownership to the crowdfunding campaign supporters. In response to strong public interest and enthusiasm, the DMA and the Latino Center for Leadership Development worked together to create a community celebration on what would have been Frida Kahlo’s 110th birthday with more than 5,000 people in attendance in only three hours.
Additionally, 12 DMA Family Days presented by 11 sponsors saw more than 37,000 people attending over the select Sundays. Approximately half of the visitors on DMA Family Days, which featured programs and free admission to the exhibition, identified as first time visitors to the Museum.
The DMA also welcomed a number of first-time visitors through its collaboration with the Latino Center for Leadership Development which created Yo Soy DMA, an independent community effort to support the Museum. The 150 individuals who signed up as Yo Soy DMA ambassadors generated excitement and awareness for the exhibition throughout their communities.