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Art exhibitions in cinemas – the potentially lucrative trend 0

When visiting some of the most sought-after art exhibitions in London, Paris or New York, one soon realizes that our experience of museums has radically changed. It is no longer the intimate environment, where one can indulge in a private conversation with a painting, drawing or sculpture. Today we are surrounded by flocks of art enthusiasts all aiming for the same goal – to get a closer look of a masterpiece. This not only tests our boundaries of personal space, but also assesses the ability to act fast as the available tickets soon become a rarity. 

In order to make art more accessible for the masses the award-winning arts documentary maker Phil Grabsky, together with Seventh Art Productions and BY Experience, have made a new series of ground-breaking art exhibitions for the cinema. The project is titled accordingly – EXHIBITION. Succeeding the highly popular presentation of Leonardo Live, which brought the National Gallery London sold-out blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition to over 1000 cinemas, also Manet: Portraying Life, which is on view at the Royal Academy in London through April 14, will be available at movie theaters worldwide, in limited screenings only, beginning April 11, 2013. In addition to select independent cinemas and performing arts centers, the event will be broadcast to over 500 select movie theaters across the country through NCM Fathom Events and NCM's exclusive Digital Broadcast Network. The program will also be seen in the UK, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, with additional countries pending.

Cinemagoers worldwide will see exclusive behind-the-scenes moments of the Royal Academy’s exhibition preparation – moments usually hidden from view – and experience a detailed, superbly crafted biography of Manet and 19th century Paris. Worthy to highlight is also the fact that the virtual tour of Manet’s works will be given by art historian Tim Marlow, who had the pleasure of meeting last year (read the interview here).

Soon after releasing the film that will be devoted to the portraiture of Edouard Manet, Phil Grabsky is planning two more movie premiers. Munch 150, which will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch, will debut on June 27, but on October 10, the National Gallery in London will grant film access to the Johannes Vermeer exhibition, with an HD film Vermeer and Music:
 The Art of Love and Leisure of his works.

The British Museum is currently also planning on experimenting with film as it will attempt a private view – a live broadcast for cinema audiences – of its forthcoming exhibition Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, which will debut in cinemas on June 18, 2013.

Live streaming in cinemas has been one of the great success stories of recent years. Although until now it has mostly been associated with Opera performances. Alternative cinema is a growing genre and the greatest success story without a doubt is the Met Opera series, which has grown every year since it was first beamed in 2006. Today it's seen in more than 1900 theatres in 64 countries, with nearly 13 million tickets sold since 2006, according to figures provided by the Opera house.

Even though there have been numerous discussions emphasizing the fact that nothing can replace the feeling one gets when standing in front of the original object itself, Phil Grabsky’s aim is not to replicate galleries. “The last thing we want is for people to consider this as an alternative,” says the director. “But most of our audience don't have the opportunity to get to London or get a ticket.” 

As the producers of EXHIBITION are convinced “this is undoubtedly the biggest project of our times connecting major art exhibitions with the widest possible audience via the wonders of the big screen. This is an exclusive and global first that will delight art-lovers worldwide.”