Closed due to COVID-19 pandemic, Louvre turns to sale of merchandise to generate income-Art-and-culture News, Firstpost

Expanding merchandise is just one of the ways the museum has been creative in fundraising.

Can masks and T-shirts save the Louvre? Probably not, but maybe they can help keep the museum’s name alive while its doors remain closed.

Normally, the Louvre is one of the most visited museums in the world: 9.6 million people visited its rooms in 2019. But the coronavirus deprived it of foreign tourists and government decrees closed it twice for nearly six months last year, a loss of 90 million euros (about $ 108 million) in revenue, according to the Louvre. Since last March, the museum, along with other French cultural institutions, has remained closed indefinitely. (It opened last year from early July to late October.)

“We have to find new ways to make money,” said Adel Ziane, director of external relations at the Louvre. “The COVID crisis has made the diversification and promotion of the name of the Louvre more urgent than ever. “

One of his answers is retail. Lots of detail.

On February 4, Uniqlo began selling a collection of Louvre clothing in its stores around the world, under a four-year licensing agreement with the museum. Peter Saville, an English graphic designer, splashed the museum’s inventory numbers and slogans alongside the artwork on t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Uniqlo’s two-minute promotional video for the line features Uniqlo-clad models strolling through the galleries of the Louvre. The Louvre has produced its own short video featuring a museum official extolling the values ​​of “universality and timelessness” he shares with Uniqlo.

The Louvre has also collaborated with CASETiFY, a tech accessories company, to put images of some of its most recognizable women – Mona Lisa, Venus, Liberty Leading the People – on iPhone cases, AirPods cases, Grip mounts, wireless chargers and water bottles.

Maison Sarah Lavoine, a small boutique located near the Tuileries Garden, offers a fancy cushion and ceramic candlesticks that are said to be inspired by the bases of statues in the garden.

During the pandemic, visits to the site exploded, according to the museum. But the Louvre had to rely on an umbrella online site, the Museum Shop, to sell its wares, grouping them together with wares from museums like Versailles and the Musée d’Orsay. Thus, at the end of January, the Louvre created a distinct online identity with its own e-boutique.

“We wanted to take control, promote what we wanted, tell our own stories – and reach the widest possible audience around the world,” said Yann Le Touher, Head of Sponsorship, Brand and Business Partnerships at Le Touher. Louvre. is where you can find Louvre Swatches, a Louvre fragrance from L’Officine Universelle Buly; and the monopoly of the Louvre.

Expanding merchandise is just one of the ways the museum has been creative in fundraising.

In December, for the first time in its history, the museum organized an auction with Christie’s and Drouot to raise funds to transform an unused museum space into a 12,000 square foot educational and practical art “studio”. for adults and children. At auction, works of art by Pierre Soulages and Jean-Michel Othoniel were offered; a Vacheron Constantin watch (the winning bidder could choose a museum artwork to be reproduced on the dial, although the Mona Lisa is banned;) and a variety of museum-related “experiences”.

An unidentified bidder paid 80,000 euros ($ 96,600) to be able to witness the process of taking the Mona Lisa out of her case in person for her annual inspection.

In total, the auction raised more than 2.3 million euros ($ 2.8 million). “Bidders from all over the world have come together to show their support,” said museum director Jean-Luc Martinez. “The desire for the Louvre is more alive than ever. “

The warm atmosphere of popular culture is nothing new for the Louvre, which welcomes, often at very high prices, filmmakers, videographers, photographers, fashion designers, artists.

For two nights in 2018, Beyoncé and Jay-Z took to the galleries, stairs, corridors and courtyard of the Louvre to produce a clip that has been viewed over 200 million times on YouTube.

Most recently, the creators of the Netflix series Lupine rented the museum for five days and five nights. And Louis Vuitton, because of its status as a major donor of the Louvre, has an exclusive layout which gives it access to various museum spaces for its shows, which took place in the exterior Carrée courtyard and the Marly courtyard under glass (the the location of the next one, which will be revealed digitally on March 10, remains to be seen).

It’s a question of buzz and results; fees are negotiable.

“The cost of the museum depends on the project,” Ziane said. “Is it day or night?” How are the galleries? Do you want the Mona Lisa? Want an aerial shot of the Pyramid? The prices can go up quite high. “

In the meantime, those who want to put Mona Lisa on their face, can buy a “Monna Pop” face mask with 16 images of her face in bright pop-art colors on the Museum Shop website for 9.90 euros.

The website proclaims: “Cover your mouth and nose in style! “

– Featured Image: Benh LIEU SONG

Elaine Sciolino c. 2021 The New York Times Company