The Louvre Bookshop Threatened

4/3/13 - Musée du Louvre - Bookshop - The Réunion des Musées Nationaux is getting ready, with the Louvre’s complicity, to do serious harm to the bookshop located under the pyramid, although it has imposed itself since 1989 as one of the richest and most complete art history bookstores in Paris, and certainly as the best one of any French, or even international, museum.

The goal is obviously to increase the profitability of this space by moving the related products down to the ground floor and the books to the mezzanine. This will have a two-fold result : on the one hand the surface area will be reduced, thus offering, or displaying, fewer reference works ; consequently, a downturn in the number of visitors which in the long run will have a negative effect on art publications, a domain which is already seriously threatened. What exactly is the motive behind it for the French Ministry of Culture, which manages the RMN and the Louvre ? To make as much money as possible by selling casts of works (in the best case scenario) or objects decorated with reproductions of the Mona Lisa or help increase cultural knowledge with art history books ?

A statement signed by several art editing publishers appeared in the specialized magazine, Livres Hebdo. It says notably that this decision : "constitutes a serious blow for books in general and and art books in particular, in a difficult context for publishing and bookshops. The Louvre bookshop until now offered an amazing display space and an important outlet for many specialized art editors. This sends out a terrible sign to this editorial sector, fragile enough as it is already, with the highest design and printing costs and slowest returns on investments of any publishers." We could not express it any better and The Art Tribune wishes to join this protest which is addressed, first of all to the Ministry of Culture. We also hope that it will become a priority for the next director of the Musée du Louvre who will probably be appointed some time in March. In fact, the work in the bookshop is supposed to start in April and end in June.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 11 mars 2013

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