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'David Bowie Is' REALLY Popular, Breaks MCA Attendance Records

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 6, 2015 8:55PM

Exterior of the MCA, August 2014, photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy.

Surprising no one, the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago brought in a lot of paying customers. The MCA announced this afternoon that over 193,000 people took in the show. What is surprising is the announcement that this was the most popular show ever in the MCA's 47-year history! It really pays to be the only museum hosting items from the Thin White Duke's personal archive in the U.S.A., huh?

Of course this causes a bit of a (welcome) conundrum for the MCA: how do they top this? The answer there is that they won't, at least not in the near future, but they do seem to recognize the challenge of at least keeping some of the attention from these new visitors focused their way. In a statement released to the press, the MCA's Madeleine Grynsztejn said, "We will continue to build on the success of Bowie by engaging these new audiences with another exciting year of programs in 2015." We admit we're not so sure how they plan on doing that, and the current listing of events doesn't really show the MCA deviating from their general offerings pre-David Bowie Is, but we agree it would be a pity to lose the focus of the public on the MCA since there's probably not going to be another pop cultural powerhouse like David Bowie Is coming through their doors any time soon.

Hopefully they saved some of the money from the 189,000 items—including 7,000 exhibition catalogues and 14,000 limited edition t-shirts—they sold in their special Bowie-themed store!

The MCA's previous attendance record was 163,000 people for an exhibit by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson in 2009.