With a world famous collection of master paintings and treasures from antiquity, the Louvre Museum is not exactly known for staging the work of today’s artists.
Now, in an effort to boost its contemporary art credentials, The Louvre is offering long-term residencies to two star artists.
As part of an expansive program called “Les Hôtes du Louvre” (the Hosts of the Louvre), Kader Attia and Elizabeth Peyton will have studios inside the museum from December 2023 to June 2025. The initiative is timed to coincide with the Louvre’s 230th anniversary this year.
“What is contemporary at the Louvre today has a new meaning,” said the museum’s director, Laurence des Cars. “We are in an era where the forms of creation are many, both inside the museum and outside of it. With rigor and openness, we must connect them to the museum.”
Attia, a French artist of Algerian heritage, is known for tackling subjects such as colonialism and social justice, often through film and sculpture. In 2016, he won France’s top prize for young artists, the Prix Marcel Duchamp. He curated the 2022 Berlin Biennale.
As a teenager, Attia visited the Louvre on its weekly free day and has said he hopes to channel those experiences into the work he creates.
Peyton is an American painter best known for her portraits of celebrities, musicians, and historical figures. After graduating from New York’s School of Visual Arts, it took Peyton nearly two decades to receive major art world recognition. She has since held solo exhibitions at New York’s New Museum, UCCA Beijing, and, most recently, London’s National Portrait Gallery, where her lush portraits were placed alongside historical works.
Peyton has said that works from the Louvre’s collection, including those by Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, and Jacques-Louis David, have been sources of inspiration throughout her career.
The museum has also invited Hans-Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, to interview 11 artists (Attia, Daniel Buren, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Julien Creuzet, Simone Fattal, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Sheila Hicks, Anselm Kiefer, Lee Ufan, Annette Messager, and Philippe Parreno) for a forthcoming book, (The Louvre Conversations).
The book will be accompanied by “Visites d’artiste au Louvre” (Artist Visits to the Louvre), in which some of the artists who appear in the book will lead exclusive guided tours. In addition to Attia, the artists are Buren, Creuzet, Fattal, Gonzalez-Foerster, Hicks, and Lee Ufan. The tours run from October 14 to December 9.
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