As the raindrops hit the grey pavement of the city, let’s imagine ourselves in another, greyer city across the pond, one the has its fair share of black umbrellas out every spring: Paris. Say after a croissant and a cafe au lait you stare out the window and dread the thought of joining the dreary sea of umbrellas. Suddenly you shout “Eureka!”, startling the waitress.
You will go to the Louvre. What better museum to get lost in than the Louvre, with its enormous collection and long galleries? Imagine your surprise when you find that the staid old home of the Mona Lisa is having a face lift.
It recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of it’s first facelift, the infamous glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei. For the pyramid’s 20th birthday, the Louvre has created muse trek, a way of exploring the Louvre’s collection and creating your own guide to the works displayed. Muse treks are available as an interactive guide on the web and on your own iPhone or iPod Touch at the museum. The treks people create give a uniquely personal view of connections between the artworks. (Unfortunately, many works from the museum’s collection are not available…)
Interactive use of technoology is a good step forward into the 21st C. for the Louvre, but it gets wilder yet. The Louvre has commissioned Cy Twombly (who I promise I will quit writing about some day) to paint a ceiling for the Salle de Bronzes. As Grant Rosenberg points out in his article in The American Scholar, “for the first time since Georges Braque in 1953, a living artist’s work will adorn a ceiling of the iconic museum.” This is a huge project for the octogenarian Twombly, literally: the ceiling is 33 meters long!
Ooh la la!