The Louvre’s famous giant glass pyramid, designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, became a landmark of the city of Paris in 1989- until it was made invisible by French street artist JR last week. The artist’s installation is a trick of the eye, a gigantic paper photograph of the Louvre Museum covering the pyramid as part of JR’s “artist takeover”. Featured here on our blog, JR is well known for monumental black and white pastings covering buildings all over the world.
“By erasing the Louvre Pyramid, I am highlighting the way Pei made the Louvre relevant for his time, while bringing the Louvre back to its original state.”
When invited by the “biggest museum in the world”, JR, who is a fan of I.M. Pei, immediately set his sights on the pyramid: “When arriving at the Louvre, people will all notice the absence and I’m curious to see how they will react. Hundreds of tourists take selfies with the pyramid everyday, so I wanted to make it harder for them. I want them to actively look for it and talk to each other while moving around to find the best spot to take the picture,” he shares.
“Making the Pyramid disappear is a way for me to distance myself from my subject. The feud between traditional and modern tastes in art and architecture is nothing new. The Pyramid, Buren’s columns at the Palais-Royal, and the Pompidou Center- all of these caused controversy.”
“My work is about transmitting history to better understand the present, and find echoes with our own times. What happened in the past is part of a broader context that can still have relevance for today. By erasing the Louvre Pyramid, I am highlighting the way Pei made the Louvre relevant for his time, while bringing the Louvre back to its original state.” JR’s artwork, which was unveiled on May 28th, will remain in place through June 28th.
Photo credit: David Emeran