March 5, 2024

This past Sunday, visitors of Kunsthal Rotterdam had one last opportunity to enjoy the exhibition Ai Weiwei. In Search of Humanity. This closing week prompted no less than 24,765 people to come and see the exhibition, including over 7 thousand visitors during Rotterdam Museum Night. The exhibition and its many accompanying activities attracted a total number of 272,092 visitors, of which 30% were visiting the Kunsthal for the very first time, and 15% were international visitors. The logistic operation to send all 120 artworks back to lenders all around the world has now begun. When it is done, the Kunsthal’s large HALL 2 will be transformed once again, this time to accommodate the high-contrast universe of the Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury.

The exhibition In Search of Humanity ran for 22 weeks and, apart from mobilising a record number of visitors, managed to bring about huge media attention and many favourable reviews. In an audience survey, the visitors expressed their appreciation for the exhibition by giving it a 9 out of 10, also frequently sharing their recommendations on social media.  Television programmes like the NOS news, Khalid & Sophie, AVROTROS Nu te Zien!, Ivo op zondag, and the talk show De Sociëteit all paid ample attention to the exhibition, while numerous interviews and articles appeared in all major newspapers in the Netherlands and Belgium. 

Activities

The success of the exhibition was further enhanced by many initiatives and collaborations. As part of the exhibition, an Artist Talk with Ai Weiwei took place during the opening weekend; this talk is still available for watching on the Kunsthal’s YouTube Channel. In conjunction with the NN Art Festival, an opening breakfast took place in which a wide audience participated. During the school holidays there were workshops, a special LEGO walk-in, and the family event See you later, Illustrator. At the Ai Weiwei LAB, children and the adults accompanying them were invited to actively think about how we might interact with each other in a more humane and positive way. During the Week against Loneliness, an edition of KunstKoppels (Art Couples) was organised in collaboration with Rotterdamse Helden. Furthermore, there were lectures and special tours hosted by Unesco and Amnesty International, a film screening in collaboration with KINO, and further collaborations with Roffa Mon Amour and Spraakuhloos for in-depth programmes during Friday Night LIVE. 

Some Facts & Figures:
•    Among the total number of 272,092 visitors, there were 10,300 students who visited the Kunsthal with their schools. 
•    A total number of 881 guided tours took place, including KunstHoppen (ArtHopping) and a sign language tour. 
•    The Ai Weiwei pop-up shop proved very successful, selling over 2,500 catalogues, nearly 26,000 postcards, 3,754 tote bags, and 1,327 raised middle finger sculptures. 

Collaboration 

This exhibition was realised in collaboration with Ai Weiwei Studio, Albertina Modern in Vienna and guest curator Dieter Buchhart.

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The Kunsthal would like to thank all sponsors, funds, and other collaboration partners who made the exhibitions and the accompanying exhibitions into a major success!

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