Beyoncé and Jay-Z helped the Louvre break a world record
The power of high art and pop culture combined
Last year saw a new level of world dominance for power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who released their album 'EVERYTHING IS LOVE' under the name The Carters, kicked off their 'On The Run II' tour (which brought in over $250 million), and set the bar impossibly high for everyone from couples to art institutions.
The Carters' music video for 'Apes**t,' was a clear highlight of the year, a viral pièce de résistance that showed the pair dancing through the Musée du Louvre, allowing black art to not only exist in a systematically biased art institution, but also to meld with it in order to become something that extends far beyond any frame or screen. The video has over 148 million views on YouTube, but it was also a huge draw for people who wanted to see the museum—where the stars intermix their art with that of centuries-old masterpieces—in real life.
In a press release, the famed Paris landmark revealed they had a record 10.2 million visitors in 2018, which is an increase of 25% from the year before. It also breaks their previous record of 9.7 million visitors in 2012 by half a million.
“No other museum in the world has ever equaled this figure," the museum added, before giving a nod to the Carters' video, "with its tribute to some of the museum’s greatest artworks."
The Louvre's director, Jean-Luc Martinez, was a bit more specific with his praise, telling a French radio station,"The Beyoncé video ... ensured that the Louvre was talked about across the world, and one of the consequences of that is the spectacular rise in visitor numbers last year."
The Louvre took the opportunity to capitalize on the pop culture exposure in July of 2018, when they launched a visitor trail called “JAY-Z and Beyoncé at the Louvre,” which is an hour and a half guide through all the artwork featured in the six-minute video. Some of the pieces include the 'Winged Victory of Samothrace' sculpture, Théodore Géricault’s 'The Raft of the Medusa,' Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s 'Portrait of a Black Woman,' and, of course, the 'Mona Lisa,' which the couple nonchalantly faces at the end of the video, making it seem quite inconsequential in comparison to the vivacious display you just witnessed.
And there you have it, another significant moment going down in the world of art history, for which we have the Carters to thank.