Video: Bones And Art In The Paris Catacombs

You’ve probably seen videos or photos of the famous Paris Catacombs, with their miles of ossuaries holding the bones of some six million Parisians. The catacombs were created in the 18th century from existing underground quarries, and these quarries, tunnels, and other mysterious underground spaces create a network under Paris measuring more than 180 miles. It’s truly a city under the city, with its own secret life.

This video, created by some intrepid urban explorers, shows parts of the Paris Catacombs you won’t see on the official tour: rooms filled with graffiti and giant murals, even a large stone model of a castle. Despite their reputation as burial places, the tunnels and rooms beneath Paris seem to have a lot of life in them.

The Parisians who make these works of art, called cataphiles, also sponsor underground parties, meetings, even a cinema. To learn more about these interesting folks, check out this article.

The Art Newspaper reveals most popular exhibitions and museums of 2011

art, Louvre
The folks over at the Art Newspaper have just released some interesting stats about the art world of 2011. Collecting a huge amount of data from hundreds of museums and galleries, they’ve discovered some important trends.

First off, the big shows are getting bigger. The top ten most popular art shows back in 1996, the first year they gathered figures, averaged 3,000 visitors a day. Last year’s top ten shows averaged almost 7,000 visitors a day.

For total attendance in 2011, the Louvre in Paris was way ahead with 8,880,000 visitors. Number two was the Met in New York City with slightly over 6,000,000 visitors. Paris and London dominated the top ten. Three Parisian museums made the top ten: the Louvre (#1), Centre Pompidou (#8), and Musée D’Orsay (#10), with a combined total of 15.2 million visitors. London boasts the British Museum (#3), National Gallery (#4), and Tate Modern (#5), with a combined total of 16 million.

For top exhibitions, last year had several blockbusters, with “The Magical World of Escher” coming out on top with 573,691 visitors. It was free at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil. The most popular paid exhibition was “Kukai’s World: The Art of Esoteric Buddhism” at the Tokyo National Museum with 550,399 tickets sold.

There’s a lot more data in the report giving lots of insight into the booming world of major art exhibitions. It should be interesting to see what trends this year’s figures show.

Photo of the Louvre courtesy Ivo Jansch.