Long queues snake around Melbourne’s NGV, the gallery’s Van Gogh exhibition enters its last week. (Double J: Ryan Egan)
A record-breaking 420,000 people have seen the National Gallery of Victoria’s exhibition of Van Gogh masterpieces, but while his works are being praised some visitors are disappointed at how the large crowds have been managed.
Van Gogh and the Seasons snatched the record from the gallery’s previous blockbuster Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei over the summer of 2015 and 2016, which was seen by a crowd of more than 399,000.
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The exhibition was open overnight on Saturday to cater for the strong demand, and was due to end on Sunday, but has been extended until 11:00pm on Wednesday night.
While the latest visitor numbers are great news for the gallery and its bottom line, some art-goers have taken to social media to vent their frustration at long waits to get into the show and overcrowding.
Some people waited about an hour to buy a ticket in lines which snaked through the gallery, before joining another queue to get into the actual exhibition.
Pre-purchasing a ticket has not allowed people to skip the queue, with complaints about having to shuffle through the exhibition because of the number of people allowed in at once.
One person complained on Twitter that she “missed getting a photo due to crowd” and another said an “hour and a half just to get inside. So busy! I nearly died. My feet did”.
Amy Roil said she thought the crowds could have been better managed, after she faced more than an hour’s wait to get in to the exhibition on a Wednesday morning last month.
“The experience of looking with hundreds of other people was pretty unpleasant,” she said.
“It felt so rushed, you didn’t really feel like you could really stop and appreciate the paintings because there were just so many people trying to look at the same ones.”
Van Gogh’s 1890 painting, Pine Trees and Dandeloins in the Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital. (National Gallery of Victoria)