The Louvre Effect

Stara, Alexandra (2015) The Louvre Effect. In: Kristoffer, Arvidsson, (ed.) Skiascope 7: Art, Museum, Architecture. Gothenburg, Sweden : Gothenburg Museum of Art. pp. 50-87. (Skiascope: Annual Publication of the Gothenburg Museum of Art) ISBN 9789187968921


This paper presents new field research into art-museum architecture, including the then-newly constructed Louvre Lens. It was delivered at an international research symposium on the subject at the Gothenburg Museum of Art in 2015, which was part of a two-year consultation for the rebuilding and extension of the museum building. An expanded version was published in Skiascope, the annual research volume of the institution the same year. The paper is accompanied by originally commissioned photography illustrating the specific arguments made in the text. The paper focuses its investigation on the Louvre as a globally expanding institution, and argues that the architectural strategies of its old and new branches may appear diverse but rely on a singular underlying concept that defines the Louvre ‘brand’ across centuries and continents. Combining economic, social, arthistorical and architectural discourses, the paper contests the proposition that spectacular architecture is a de facto draw for new museum buildings (the so-called Guggenheim effect), and argues instead that a more nuanced approach situated in the character of the institution – encompassing collecting, curatorial and business concepts, as well as consideration for local character – might constitute the best longer-term strategy.

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