Gallery-goers are ready to give up because of overcrowding, says Sirin Kale. Why aren't timed entry tickets working?
'Damp from the rain, umbrellas shoved into our bags, we jostle each other politely – at first. But as I progress through Tate Britain’s blockbuster William Blake exhibition on this Saturday afternoon, the sense of hostility from fellow London gallery-goers intensifies. At Blake’s 1793 masterpiece Albion Rose, which measures a scant 25cm by 21cm, a scrum of visitors peer and crane over each other’s heads. In front of Blake’s 1805 The Temptation and Fall of Eve, I sense the unmistakable feeling of elbows on ribs.
By the time I reach the room containing his Illuminated Books, I am on the verge of giving up – and I am not alone. Next to me, two middle-aged women discuss coming back on a weekday, when the exhibition will be less crowded. Perhaps it was to be expected: the exhibition has had rave reviews. But my experience was not anomalous. Venture to many blockbuster exhibitions, particularly on a weekend, and you’ll often be met with overwhelming crowds. Is there a surfeit of public interest in art? Are galleries packing in the crowds to maximise profit? And how best to meet the growing demand for public art without turning museums into amusement parks, complete with heavily managed queues?' ... Keep reading on The Guardian