The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, which closed yesterday, attracted 815,992 visitors during its run from May 7 to September 7, putting it in fifth place among the Museum’s most visited exhibitions. Joining blockbusters such as Treasures of Tutankhamun (1978), Mona Lisa (1963), and Painters in Paris (2000), the popular show exceeded the number of visitors to The Costume Institute‘s prior most popular exhibition, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011), which was the Met’s eighth most visited exhibition, with 661,509 visitors.
The exhibition explored the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries. High fashion was juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains, and other art, including films, to reveal enchanting reflections of Chinese imagery.
The exhibition, which was originally set to close on August 16, was extended by three weeks, and then hours were added on September 4 and 5, when it stayed open until midnight, three hours past the Museum’s usual 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday night closing time.
The exhibition, curated by Andrew Bolton, was a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art. Wong Kar Wai was artistic director and Nathan Crowley served as production designer.
Encompassing approximately 30,000 square feet in 16 separate galleries in the Museum’s Chinese and Egyptian Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center, it was The Costume Institute‘s largest special exhibition ever, and also one of the Museum’s largest. With gallery space three times the size of a typical Costume Institute spring show, China accommodated the high numbers of visitors without lines.
“We are thrilled that so many visitors from around the world experienced this exploration of the impact of Chinese art on Western fashion,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The exhibition is one of the most ambitious the Museum has ever mounted, requiring an extraordinary collaboration across departments with unprecedented results. There are certain projects that only the Met can do, and this was certainly one of them.”
The exhibition was made possible by Yahoo. Additional support was provided by Condé Nast and several Chinese donors. The exhibition is featured on the Museum’s website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #ChinaLookingGlass and #AsianArt100.