Met Says ‘Heavenly Bodies’ Is Most Visited Show in Museum’s History

Installation view of “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” 2018, at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has released its final attendance figures for its exhibition “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” the latest blockbuster show put on by the Costume Institute. According to the museum, 1,659,647 people visited the exhibition, making it the most visited show in the Met’s history.

In a release, the Met said that the previous show to hold that record was the 1978 exhibition “Treasures of Tutankhamun,” which was reportedly seen by 1,360,957 people. According to an ARTnews survey from 2015, the Tutankhamun show and a 1963 presentation of the Mona Lisa are the only other two exhibitions to have received more than 1 million visitors since the museum has been open.

Costume Institute exhibitions tend to attract large crowds. The prior record for a Costume Institute show was held by 2015’s “China: Through the Look Glass,” which the Met said was seen by more than 800,000 people.

The large attendance figures for “Heavenly Bodies” can be partly be attributed to its size—the exhibition is spread across several locations at the Met’s Fifth Avenue home base and the Cloisters, its annex in Washington Heights devoted to the museum’s medieval holdings. Covering more than 60,000 square feet of space, the exhibition, which was curated by Andrew Bolton, is also one of the largest to have been mounted at the museum.

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