Ron Mueck Sculptures at Christchurch Art Gallery Popular

( Ron Mueck has become the most popular paid-entry exhibition ever to be shown at Christchurch Art Gallery, with a total of 36,000 people visiting in its first six weeks.

Since it opened on 2 October, the number of people attending the exhibition, which features 13 extraordinarily life-like sculptures, has already surpassed the five paid-entry exhibitions held at the Gallery since it opened at its current location in 2003. Cecil Beaton: Portraits in 2006 was the previous highest paid-entry exhibition, attracting 29,063 visitors.

Ron Mueck, showing at the Gallery until 23 January, is also likely to surpass the Gallery’s most popular paid-entry exhibition ever, Buried Army of Qin Shihuang, which showed at the Robert McDougall Gallery in 1986, before the Gallery moved to its current premises. It attracted a record 71,345 visitors.

Gallery director Jenny Harper says she is thrilled at the popularity of Ron Mueck so far. “With visitors continuing to flow in the doors, it’s likely to be the Gallery’s most popular paid-entry exhibition. When the National Gallery of Victoria touring exhibition showed in Melbourne and Brisbane earlier this year, it received a total of more than 300,000 visitors, which went beyond their expectations. We are pleased that New Zealand audiences are also responding well to the exhibition.

“While we have now surpassed all previous paid-entry exhibitions since we moved to our current location, it would be wonderful to exceed the numbers at our predecessor gallery and for Ron Mueck to be the most popular pay-to-view art exhibition held in Christchurch since the foundation of its public art gallery.”

To date, 65% of visitors to Ron Mueck have been from Christchurch and Canterbury, 22% have been from other parts of New Zealand while 13% are international visitors. Numbers attending Ron Mueck are approximately 58% of total gallery visitors since the exhibition’s opening.

Ms Harper believes the popularity of Ron Mueck is due to its powerful human content. “We have found that Ron Mueck is attracting many first-time visitors to the Gallery. When Christchurch became the third city – and the sole new Zealand venue – to host this exhibition, we believed it would appeal to a wide range of people, including those who are not traditional Gallery visitors. We are pleased that Ron Mueck is fulfilling this intention.”

Tickets cost $15 for adults, $7 for children and $40 for a family (two adults and up to three children). For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $12 per person. They are available from, the Gallery and i-Site information centre in Cathedral Square.

Ron Mueck will be at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu until January 23, 2011.

Media Release 11 November 2010 from Christchurch City Council.