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Visitors to Duke's El Greco art show disappoint

Posted November 13, 2008
Updated November 14, 2008

— One of the biggest exhibitions presented at Duke University's new art museum failed to draw the crowds and money it expected.

The Nasher Museum of Art opened three years ago, and hosted a show this year of works by El Greco and other Spanish Old Masters.

The university said it was one of the most important shows of its kind ever presented in the Southeast. The works date to the early 1600s, when Spain's empire was at its peak.

The exhibit drew about 73,000 visitors – short of the 100,000 the museum had hoped for – before it ended Sunday, museum officials said,

Ticket sales were at about $462,000, about $500,000 short of the $1 million the museum anticipated. About half of the funding for the $2 million exhibit came from donations.

Museum Director Kimberly Rorschach said the Nasher will have to tighten its belt for the rest of the year, and could cancel a summer exhibition.


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  • Hammerhead Nov 14, 2008

    If it's art to anybody, it's art. Thanks for reinforcing my point. I'll say it again, this exhibit was pretty impressive.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Nov 13, 2008

    I put 'art' in quotation because I, along with the rest of the world, can't put a clearcut definition of what 'art' really is. A ton of 'art' is nothing more than Kindergarten scribble that people ooh and aah over. And I don't understand the ooh and aah. If it was created 80-100 years ago or more, I'll call it an awesome artifact. I might want to see that. But if its a painting, and I can't figure out what the hooey it is, I don't care if Jesus' Deciples painted it... I'm not interested. I would rather see a 400 year old wooden bowl than some scribbled painting someone made in 72AD. What exactly is art? If someone tosses brushes around on some canvas next month, is that art? Or just some hooey created to rip off some fool? I vote for the second answer.

  • Hammerhead Nov 13, 2008

    Not sure why you put art in quotation marks, deathrow. Isn't that what it is? I saw the exhibit, it was pretty impressive. I think, however, that the expectations were a bit high.

  • onyourheels2 Nov 13, 2008

    they should have said they were obama paintings.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Nov 13, 2008

    "The Herald-Sun of Durham reported Thursday the exhibit drew about 73,000 visitors before it ended Sunday."

    "Ticket sales earned $462,000, well short of the exhibit's $2 million cost."

    My Lord, there's somewhere around a million people in the Orange/Durham/Wake area. What percentage of people in this area really, honestly gives a hoot about 'art'? They basically got 7.3% of the locals to shell out money to look at 'art'. I would say that was a great turnout. And it probably cost more to see this 'art' than to see a Durham Bulls game. Sounds like some people need to come out of their little shell and realize that 'art' isn't as popular as they think.