Shake Up at the Louvre

There are quite a few changes astir at the Louvre, and not just the McDonald’s everyone is going on about. The New York Times has an in-depth article about changes that Henri Loyrette’s management have instilled. To me, most of the changes seem to be about making the art accessible, making the museum commercially viable, and trying to get people to come for something beside the Mona Lisa.

You would think these would be good things. I don’t mind a nice, staid high-quality art museum myself, but looking at those grey stone walls I understand the urge to put a big glass pyramid in. Loyrette is creating an Islamic wing, as well as trying to include more American artists. I love the idea of having Cy Twombley do a big ceiling for the Salle des Bronzes, pictured below. Loyrette has also created a membership program and made the museum free on Friday nights to those under 26. Some might say he is running it like an American institution.

He is also critiqued for making big loans in exchange for big bucks. (The High Museum in Atlanta is one example of an institution with more cash than art.) Loyrette is first and foremost an arts administrator, and he is trying to make his ‘business’ a success. That’s not a very Romantic notion for an art museum, but for one of its size and prestige it’s a very useful one.

2 thoughts on “Shake Up at the Louvre

  1. Have you been to the Louvre?

    I was there last year and the main thing I wasn’t quite prepared for… was its size.

    Like, it’s SO DAMN BIG. I think the guides recommend you spend a few days there, or even a week.

    If you’re there for a day, you’re meant to just take one wing.

  2. I was- technically speaking- there. It was going really well until we got inside. Then my dad, in his tetchy overcrowded way, says we have to hurry up. He wanted to see–guess what–the Mona Lisa. So we rush over to see it, but about 50 yards away he has a freak out because of the crowds and we leave. And that was the time I went to the Louvre.

    I got the vague sense it was absolutely massive. Hopefully I’ll get to go back soon and really spend some time there.

Leave a Reply