An Australian exhibition by the Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist has proven to be a major sell out. The show ‘Sip my Ocean’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney is a retrospective of Rist’s work, and its popularity has taken the museum by surprise.
The exhibition has been so popular that it has pushed the museum to the limit of its capacity at times, with long queues of people forming to see the colourful exhibit.
Museum director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, said that social media had played a large part in its success. Numerous visitors had come to the museum with photos of the exhibition they had found on Instagram and specifically asked to see artworks by Rist.
A decision by the museum to stage a selfie-free night has been seen as a clever PR stunt. Although the hashtag #PipilottiRist is estimated to have “reached over 4.1 million people” according to the museum, in the final weeks of the exhibition an after-hours “unplugged session” was offered, requiring visitors to switch off their phones.
The exhibition also offered a nude visiting evening which, while unusual was fitting with Rist’s artistic themes. The museum’s website described it as a chance to “experience the liberating effects of enjoying art in the nude”.
Macgregor said the museum had taken a risk in choosing Rist’s work as the Swiss artist was not well known among the wider public in Australia.
Instinctive and visceral, Rist's work stems from a generation of TV, the emergence of new technology and the human condition. The exhibition spanned the Swiss artist’s work from her single-channel 1980’s videos to her large-scale audio-visual installations. The works took up the whole third floor of the prestigious venue.