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.