The year just ending has been one of the most successful to date for the Irish Museum of Modern Art, not only in the quality and diversity of its programmes, but also in terms of public engagement with its work. Visitor numbers for 2008 are set to exceed 440,000, the second highest yearly total in the Museum’s history, with many thousands more attending exhibitions and events throughout Ireland organised by IMMA’s National Programme.
Highlights for 2008 included:
• Exhibitions by such leading international artists as Miquel Barceló, Jack Pierson and McDermott & McGough, prominent Irish artists Cecil King and William McKeown and highly-regarded, younger-generation artists Ulla von Brandenburg and Janaina Tschäpe.
• Group exhibitions, including 10,000 to 50, from the collections of members of Business to Arts; Order. Desire. Light., presenting 250 drawings by a wide cross section of well-known contemporary artists, and In Praise of Shadows, featuring shadows, shadow theatres and silhouettes by many leading exponents of that genre.
• A series of innovative exhibitions and other projects from the Museum’s own Collection, including Exquisite Corpse, based on the Surrealist game of the same name, James Coleman’s Background, 1991-94, and The Burial of Patrick Ireland, a performance piece by Irish-born artist Brian O’Doherty, which drew huge national and international media coverage.
• Significant acquisitions, including 25 works from the prestigious Bank of Ireland Collection, a series of watercolours by the distinguished Irish artist Patrick Hall and an important work by the Irish-American painter Philip Taaffe.
• Visits by 49 primary schools to the Museum itself, and projects with a further 32 schools as part of the Museum’s National Programme. In addition, two major new initiatives – one for young people, the other promoting online learning – were undertaken in conjunction with museums across Europe.
• The Museum21 symposium, at which leading international authorities on the subject explored the future role and function of museums. IMMA also hosted 16 artists from eight different countries under its Artists’ Residency Programme.
Commenting on the past year, the Museum’s Director, Enrique Juncosa, said: “We are all delighted at the public’s continued engagement with our range of programmes in what has been yet another busy year for everyone at the Museum. Research has shown that repeat visits make up an important element in our visitor numbers, and it is encouraging to see that so many people are prepared to come back again and again, following us into sometimes challenging and unconventional territory”.
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