By Lisa Bertagnoli. From chicagobusiness.com. Posted on 5/18/18.
The show, a microcosm of the impressionist artist's work, used a sophisticated attendance model to test the effect of smaller exhibits on attendance. Measuring Wi-Fi usage throughout the museum revealed that visitors spent more time in the room containing the Degas exhibit than they would have had that room not contained a special exhibit.
"Flesh," a small exhibit of Chicago painter Ivan Albright's work, opened May 4.
Thanks to that experiment, the Art Institute has stepped up smaller exhibits, opening a new show, on average, every two weeks. Museum officials expect the mix of smaller, more frequent exhibits to boost attendance, now hovering around 1.6 million a year, with members visiting once every nine to 12 months and local ticketed visitors once every 18 to 24 months. They hope these exhibits will bump up the 60 percent annual renewal rate for its 100,000 members. The new plan will also give the museum a break from the time and expense of blockbusters along the lines of 2016's “Van Gogh's Bedrooms.”