After 3 months in Paris, I thought I made it out of the clear. I would avoid the Louvre at all costs. However, I was peer pressured to go when a group of friends came to visit. It was just as horrible as I imagined, but at least it’s free. Upon descending into the underworld of artistic genius, one looses a sense of time and space. The massive hallways and staircases are disorienting. It took roughly thirty minutes to locate the Mona Lisa. We looked at it for five minutes, and then spent an hour and a half trying to get out of the museum labyrinth. Whenever I saw the word “Sortie” I would rejoice with happiness. I found it interesting that both the Louvre and Palais de Tokyo had disorienting aspects. However, I enjoyed Palais de Tokyo much more because it seemed intentional. The Louvre is massive but not enjoyable. I often found myself looking at works thinking “this must be important,” yet having no clue or appreciation for it. In contrast, at Palais de Tokyo there is no expectation or hype, you merely can take the works as you see it. I found myself leaving Palais de Tokyo more impressed then the Louvre because the works didn’t have to meet any preliminary expectation. This also made me reflect on how Google and the internet has warped out appreciation for experiencing works of art in person. After seeing the Mona Lisa projected in slide shows or on the cover of text books, I didn’t even want to take a picture of it when “I could just Google it.” I think there is a unique opportunity for an intervention or a work that forced the viewers to see famous works of art in persons in a different way.
On another note, if you don’t have time to go to Versailles, it is definitely worth going to the Louvre to see the Napoleon Apartments. It has the same “grand life style” allure without having to leave the heart of the city.