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Get in Formation for the Louvre’s Beyoncé and Jay-Z Guided Tour

The Paris museum now offers a dedicated visitor trail in response to the Carters’s viral ‘Apeshit’ music video

Beyoncé and Jay-Z, ‘Apeshit’, 2018, film still. Courtesy: the artists

Beyoncé and Jay-Z, ‘Apeshit’, 2018, film still. Courtesy: the artists

Beyoncé and Jay-Z, ‘Apeshit’, 2018, film still. Courtesy: the artists

Following on from the viral success of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s ‘Apeshit’, set in the Louvre, the Parisian museum has created a dedicated 90-minute tour of all the artworks featured in the Carters’s music video.

The pop music power couple released the music video last month. It’s been viewed on Youtube more than 57 million times since. Filmed in secrecy at the Louvre, the video takes in the museum’s iconic artworks over its 6-minute duration, from Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (c.1503–06) to the Hellenistic marble sculpture The Winged Victory of Samothrace (190 BCE), while a choreography of bodies of colour takes place beneath.

The Louvre’s French-language museum tour describes each of the artworks featured in ‘Apeshit’, but doesn’t probe the deeper politics of the Carters’s video: the ways in which it draws attention to the marginalization of black bodies in the Western art historical tradition.

Writing in frieze, the art historian James Smalls described ‘Apeshit’ as ‘all about bodies – an orchestrated contrast of energetically writhing and animated black physiques set against frozen white forms of the past.’

Smalls drew attention to how ‘Apeshit’ explores the presence of black bodies in public spaces, in the context of recent controversial incidents (including the arrest of two black men in April at a Philadelphia Starbucks for ‘trespassing’, while they were waiting for a business meeting).

Astonishingly, this isn’t the first time that the Louvre have based a museum tour off a pop music hit. Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am got there first with his 2013 song ‘Smile Mona Lisa’. The 2016 music video for the song cast will.i.am and sidekick Nicole Scherzinger as characters in the Louvre’s most famous artworks – with the museum spinning it into a guided tour, taking in everything from Marie-Antoinette’s possessions to I. M. Pei’s escalator.

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