How Beyonce and Jay-Z Shutdown the Louvre and Helped It Shatter Attendance Records
Posted March, 28, 2019 by Aeon Tours
It’s (Still) All About the Carters
In June of 2018, Beyonce and Jay-Z surprised the music world when they released their joint album Everything Is Love. While the entire album is full of slick hits, one of the true highlights is the album’s lead single, Apes**t.
One of 2018’s most memorable videos, Apes**t was filmed at the world’s most iconic museum, the Louvre. Music videos, especially ones for luminaries like Beyonce and Jay-Z are expensive and time consuming to produce. It’s estimated that it took Bey and Jay-Z a full day and a team of over 50 people to create the video for Apes**t.
How Exactly Did Beyonce and Jay-Z Shutdown the Louvre Museum?
So just how did Beyonce and Jay-Z manage to record their iconic 6 minute video at one of the world’s most popular and prestigious locations?
Surprisingly, quite easily.
The Louvre actually accommodates more than 500 private events each year, with the price points varying based on the length of time, location inside the Louvre, and the number of guests. The highest price point, understandably so, is renting out the iconic space beneath the pyramid for for a ‘mere’ €30,000.
Costs for music videos for luminaries like Beyonce and Jay-Z frequently reach into the millions of dollars, so the cost of renting the Louvre to make Apes**t was quite possibly the lowest expense of the day for the Carters.
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The Beyonce and Jay-Z Effect Helped Louvre Shatter Attendance Record
The Louvre’s attendance last peaked in 2015, a few years before Apes**t came out. But with increasing terrorist scares, strikes, and violent protests sweeping Paris, visits to the Louvre - and Paris - had actually been decreasing since. For the first six months of 2016, the decrease in visitors had cost the city an estimated €750 million in lost revenue.
Until that is, Beyonce and Jay-Z stepped in and created an artistic visual piece that quickly became iconic all on its own. To date, nearly 165 million people have watched the Apes**t on YouTube, and countless more have shared it via social media channels. The Beyonce and Jay-Z effect has undoubtedly helped the Louvre bring it’s attendance record to a new high. In fact:
“The Musée du Louvre had a record 10.2 million visitors in 2018—an increase of 25% in comparison with 2017. No other museum in the world has ever equaled this figure. The Louvre’s previous record of 9.7 million dates from 2012.”
No less than the prestigious Louvre itself has recognized the impact Beyonce and Jay-Z have had, and even created a tour that promises to follow the same path that Beyonce and Jay-Z took when they were filming at the Louvre.
About the Art in Apesh**t and The Portrait d'une Négress
Beyonce and Jay-Z were exceptionally diligent in showcasing some of the Louvre’s most inspiring works. There is a dance sequence in front of the The Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon and the Coronation of Empress Joséphine and the dramatic solo shot of Beyonce in front of the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Shots of the legendary Mona Lisa, Great Sphinx and Venus de Milo are all included in the video.
Perhaps most poignant of all, though, is the close-up of the Portrait d'une Négress (now called Portrait of a Black Woman) near the end of the video.
The Portrait d'une Négress was painted in 1800 by the acclaimed Marie-Guillemine Benoist in a contentious time in France’s colonial history. Although slavery had been abolished in France for 6 years by then, Napoleon was actively trying to restore slavery in French colonies around the world.
The piece is substantial for a number of reasons, namely that it has a black woman as the subject of her own painting while Napoleon was intent on dehumanizing them. Additionally, although she is the subject of the painting, she is still portrayed as overly sexualized with her exposed breast.
Moreover, it has been said that she is aware of her (mis)representation as she has been painted with a slightly mocking smile. Art scholars have studied the work at length with many believing the work to be an allegory of the French republic, and displaying the woman as a subordinate and still very much indentured to someone else.
One interesting thing to note about the of the Portrait of a Black Woman in Beyonce and Jay-Z’s video is that the painting is cropped to so the woman’s breast is not shown. Perhaps because Beyonce and Jay-Z wanted to intentionally subvert the over-sexualized intent of the painting and move the focus back to the woman’s sardonic look.