Way better than Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth: the summertime crowds at the Louvre. (Photos by Sebastian Puig.)
Once upon a time, in our youth, we were asked to write for a companion guide to a famous novel by Dan Brown. We visited many locations in the book and wrote with some authority (being versed in art conservation matters) about the restoration of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper in Milan. But we wrote from a distance about the Caravaggio holdings at the Louvre.
Our challenge was to figure out which painting in the Grand Gallerie could have been yanked off the wall during a key murder scene. We went for the fabulous Death of the Virgin (and luckily, so did the movie-makers, who turned the novel into a Tom Hanks romp, complete with straightened hair). But having just been to Paris to visit said gallery in person, we think that we may have made a mistake…
Q: What’s better than SUPERTITLES at the opera?
A: REALLY BIG WALL TEXT REALLY HIGH UP at an art museum!
We loved seeing the exhaustive (and exhausting) Kandinsky retrospective at the Beaubourg, a.k.a. Centre Georges Pompidou: the bold splotches of color, the whimsical shapes, all that kinetic motion from the peripatetic 20th-century master whose career took him from the Blue Rider through the Bauhaus. The only thing that left us puzzled was the wall text, which was writ LARGE and placed WAAAY up the wall. I suppose it’s so that even if visitors are stacked five-deep and can’t see the art, they can at least read the name of the painting over the tousled heads of fellow art-gawkers. Maybe some U.S. museums will catch on to this user-friendly trick. The Guggenheim will get its opportunity in September, when the show travels to New York.
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