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The NGV's Triennial is the gallery's most-visited exhibition ever

Written by
Ben Neutze

If you stepped through the NGV's doors over the last few months to see the gallery's inaugural Triennial, you were one of an extraordinary 1,231,000 visitors to do so. That figure makes the Triennial the gallery's most visited exhibition in its 157-year history.

The NGV attracted a record 2.6 million visitors in 2016, and it has now attracted almost half that number across the 122-day run of the Triennial.

It's a massive number by any stretch of the imagination – especially when you consider that Melbourne's population is only 4.8 million – but given that the exhibition was scattered throughout the gallery, the NGV has included anybody who stepped through the doors of the St Kilda building in the figure. Some wouldn't have been visiting specifically to see the Triennial.

But one artwork alone – Yayoi Kusama's 'Flower Obesssion' – had a massive audience. More than 550,000 stickers were affixed to the surfaces of an ordinary apartment in the immersive work pictured above. As visitors entered the room, each was given a single red flower sticker to leave their mark. As the flowers built up, the apartment was "obliterated".

Kusama was one of the 100 artists and designers from around the world who participated in the exhibition. We picked our top ten highlights when the exhibition opened in December.

The good news? The Triennial will be back. The bad news? It's a triennial, so it won't be for three years.

But there won't be any shortage of blockbusters at the NGV in the near future: MoMA at NGV will be opening in June. Masterpieces from New York's modern art behemoth will be heading our way, with the work of leading figures like Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh and Mark Rothko.

Read more about the NGV's next certain blockbuster, MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Check out our hit-list of the best art in Melbourne this month.

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