Louvre

Hrag Vartanian, whom you may know as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic, had a very interesting opinion piece published on Al Jazeera America the other day. The headline was Break up the major museums to save them, with a deck saying “August institutions should build more outposts rather than cloister themselves in big cities.”

Quite a proposal. His thoughts seem to have been triggered by attendance at the Louvre (12 million a year by 2025), and the experiences of many museum-goers — who can barely get near the art because the galleries are so crowded. He recapped some of the complaints contained recently in a New York Times article, Masterworks Vs. the Masses, which noted “soaring attendance has turned many museums into crowded, sauna-like spaces, forcing institutions to debate how to balance accessibility with art preservation.”

Most of the comments agreed that conditions for real art-lovers are now horrible. Vartanian went beyond “us,” though, to look at museum reviews on Trip Advisor, where he found that the “masses” tended to agree. Wrote one of the Vatican Museums: “Seriously, it would only take one person to trip or to cause some kind of mild panic or corridor rage … it doesn’t bear thinking of.” And another of the Louvre: “There was absolutely no way that myself and my family members could enjoy the museum. There are so many people that all you have time to do is make sure you aren’t trampled by the mass coming at you from every direction.”

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Judith H. Dobrzynski
Real Clear Arts

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