The coronavirus epidemic has caused major changes around the world. The art world is no exception and seems to have suffered a major economic blow. So how has the Louvre, the temple of beauty located in Paris, France, been affected?
After several months of closure, French museums have finally started to reopen. However, there is no mood of celebration there. Visitors were told to wear masks, buy tickets through an online reservation system, and submit their temperature test results. This is because the museum is governed by strange new guidelines for viewing art.
The Louvre in Paris will start accepting visitors again on July 6, unless the government guidelines are changed. Still, it will not be the same as before the coronavirus. In an interview with the French art magazine Le Figaro, Jean-Luc Martinez, director of the Louvre, said the travel restrictions will have a serious impact on visitor numbers.
Martinez expects the number of visitors to the Louvre to drop by 70%, and the demographics of the visitors will also change significantly. Martinez said that 75% of ticket sales used to come from foreigners, but the government’s immigration restrictions will have a major negative impact. However, since the French take long vacations during the summer, he is hoping to attract his own citizens, although the percentage of visitors will be small. While the public has a gloomy outlook on the art world, Martinez is optimistic.
The Louvre usually welcomes 10,000 to 15,000 visitors per day, making it one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. In the past, visitors could enter the museum from multiple locations, but now they are limited to entering only through the pyramid designed by Yeoh Ming Pei. He has also taken measures such as closing down about 30% of the museum altogether.
He predicts that the museum will remain the same for the next few years, but that it will return to its normal form in 2023. Martinez likened the current situation to the decline in museum attendance immediately after 9/11, and argued that it would take imagination to overcome this situation, and that the Louvre has the power to do so.