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Louvre reports disappointing visitor numbers for 2016

Plus: Saint Louis Art Museum petitioned to halt loan ahead of Trump inauguration | Natural History Museum announces £11 million in energy savings | Live grenade discovered at Tel Aviv museum | and recommended reading

6 January 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Louvre reports drop in visitor numbers in ‘difficult’ 2016 | The Louvre Museum has announced a significant drop in visitor numbers for 2016, with total attendance falling from around 9.3 million to 7.3 million. The decline has been attributed to various factors, notably security fears after the November 2015 terrorist attacks in the city and also last summer’s flooding. Elsewhere in the city, the Musée d’Orsay suffered a drop of 13 per cent, while the Centre Pompidou experienced a surprise increase in attendance, most of which was due to more visitors from the Paris region. According to the Louvre’s director Jean-Luc Martinez, the dip in attendance is largely the result of a drop in foreign tourism, with Chinese and Japanese visitor numbers reduced by 31 and 61 per cent respectively. In an interview with Le Figaro (French language article), Martinez described 2016 as a ‘difficult year’, admitting that the institution had foregone €9.7 million in lost ticket sales alone.

Saint Louis Art Museum petitioned to halt loan ahead of Trump inauguration | Nearly 2,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Saint Louis Art Museum to cancel the loan of George Caleb Bingham’s Verdict of the People for Donald Trump’s inaugural lunch at the White House. According to the New York Times, director Brent R. Benjamin received the petition last week, and has said that he will meet with leading signatories ‘in the near future’. However Benjamin also cautioned that the museum’s position was non-partisan, and that a loan request from the US Senate should be considered ‘an honour’.

Natural History Museum announces £11 million in energy savings | London’s Natural History Museum has made around £11 million in savings thanks to a partnership with sustainable energy management firm Vital Energi. The latter says that the South Kensington institution has reduced its carbon emissions by some 15,000 tons since it introduced an energy efficiency scheme in 2006. Vital Energi’s Nick Gosling described the decade long project as a ‘fantastic case study’ for energy efficiency in major museums. What Dippy the Diplodocus made of the figures is not recorded.

Live grenade discovered at Tel Aviv museum | Police were called in to Tel Aviv’s Haganah Museum this week after a 90-year-old live grenade was discovered in a cupboard, reports the Times of Israel. The 1920s weapon, which was described as ‘highly liable’ to explode, was removed in order for sappers to defuse it. Once it has been disarmed it will be put on display at the museum.

Recommended reading | Detroit’s legendarily impractical ‘People Mover’ still has its fans. The contraption, a kind of elevated tram designed to loop around the city between parking garages and shopping precincts, has become a metaphor for bad planning, yet as Hyperallergic’s Sarah Rose Sharp admits, there is much to like about it. Meanwhile, Jason Farago investigates Turner Prize-winning artist Simon Starling’s new show at Manhattan’s Japan Society for the New York Times, while in the Observer, Geoff Dyer sees something approaching great art in a Second World War commemorative plate picked up in a London flea market.

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