Numbers worth the risk: Doug and Matisse are on a plane for Sydney

Blockbusters – when the doors are open – are doing fantastic in COVID. We walk through the next two heading to Sydney: Doug Aitken (MCA) and Matisse (AGNSW) with their curators.
Doug Aitken, SONG 1, 2012/2015. 7-channel video installation (colour, sound). Installation view, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 2015.

Blockbusters (hate or love the term) are named for the fact that people line up, literally around the block, for unique exhibition viewing experiences. While those sort of lines today are largely reserved for COVID-testing, the big scale exhibitions that have gone ahead in our new world of social distancing have been a boon with attendances.

NGV Triennial clocked a total attendance at almost 550,000 visitors, despite harbouring two lockdowns during its exhibition hang – some 33 days out of 119 (28%) of its exhibition period (19 December 2020 – 18 April 2021).

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina