While hosting some of the world’s most priceless artistic treasures may not have been enough to draw interest, a music video filmed in the Louvre by the Carters helped shoot visitor numbers to a record-breaking 10.2mn last year.
The music-industry power couple’s video for their song “APES**T” played a large role in helping the museum break its former record of 9.7mn visitors, which it set in 2012. The video uses France’s historic museum as a backdrop throughout the 6-minute video.
“The Beyoncé video, like the opening of the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, ensured that the Louvre was talked about across the world, and one of the consequences of that is the spectacular rise in visitor numbers last year,” the museum’s director, Jean-Luc Martinez, said on French radio.
The lyrics of the song are a celebration of the kind of wealth it requires to rent out the world’s largest art museum for an entire day, a type of unapologetic egoism that actually pairs well with the opulent pomp of the museum’s massive neoclassical art collection. The video features numerous close-up shots of artwork, beginning and ending with the two hip-hop icons standing in front of the “Mona Lisa”, mirroring the paintings outward look toward the viewers.
The video has been described as a commentary about the relationship between race and our culture’s standards of art, as indicated by a close-up of a portrait of a black woman painted shortly before the end of slavery, as well as a shot featuring several young-men “taking a knee” in a reference to Colin Kaepernick’s NFL protests.
Impressively, nearly 50% of visitors were under 30 years-old, indicating how contemporary popular culture and a fresh perspective can generate interest even among the hard to reach millennial generation. The museum even created a special tour based on the video, which guides visitors through all of the works featured.
Aside from music industry celebrities, there were other factors that helped the museum hit record numbers, such as increasing confidence in visitor safety following the 2015 terrorist attacks in France. This factor is crucial considering that around 75% of the museum’s visitors are foreigners, primarily from China and the United States. The Louvre itself was targeted in one attack in early 2017, when an Egyptian national attacked museum patrols with a machete.
The museum stated that the Yellow Vest protests which have rocked the country since November have had no effect on museum attendance.
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