||There are 38,000 things in the Louvre, and signs pointing you to two of them.|
||The first of these is an armless 2100-year-old sculpture of a nude woman at the end of a room, maybe the Goddess of Love or maybe just one of Poseidon's consorts.|
||"Let You Down"
||It's larger than life-size, and elevated, which makes it perfect for selfies,|
||"Teach Me To Fight"
||Teach Me To Fight +3
||and as a result it is surrounded by an interleaved throng,|
||Christine and the Queens
||half looking at it and half facing away from it, precessing back and forth gently, trying to get the Venus de Milo into their backgrounds.|
||"This is My Cue"
||The other one is a painting.|
||It is also of a woman, an Italian nobleman's wife from the 1500s.|
||"Might Not Make It Home"
||She is clothed, and has arms. Her legs are not shown, but I presume from her expression that she has legs,|
||although on reflection it's not clear why I think I know what a legless Rennaissance-era Italian noblewoman wouldn't look like while sitting for a portrait.|
||It is a fairly small painting, mounted at about human head-height on a dedicated mid-room wall towards the end of a side-gallery filled with other paintings, many of them larger.|
||"Obscene as Cancer"
||It is behind glass, and the glass is behind a wooden guardrail, and the wooden guardrail is behind a velvet rope.|
||Thus there are no good angles for a selfie with the Mona Lisa, which might make you wonder why to even bother.|
||"Why Didn't You Stop Me?"
||Be the Cowboy
||It is best suited for taking pictures of people looking at it,|
||and indeed looking at people looking at it is arguably the main reason to take the time to come see it in person, since scrutinizing the painting itself is rather easier in professional photographs of it than in its awkward, guarded exhibition.|
||On the way from one of these to the other, you will turn a corner onto a grand staircase and confront another two-millenia-old sculpture without arms, this one also lacking a head.|
||The wingedness of Winged Victory of Samothrace is undeniably impressive, even once you learn that the displayed right wing is actually a post-discovery mirror-image cast of the left wing, which is the only one actually found.|
||And thus you have seen the three most famous things in the most famous art museum in the world,|
||and thus probably the preeminent materialized institutional synecdoche for Art itself.|
||The last time Belle and I were here, fifteen years ago, we were on the breathless verge of getting engaged,|
||and in Paris for only a few days,|
||and speed-appreciated these and only these three of the Louvre's treasures before galloping off to also visit the Orsay and the Pompidou in a single day.|
||"This Could Be Anywhere in the World"
||This time we have a daughter, and the Louvre sounded overwhelming and a little tedious to her,|
||"Exit (The Wrong Way)"
||especially after we had subjected her to the Pompidou earlier in the week,|
||"Torn in Two"
||so she and Belle went to play in the Jardins,|
||"Think I'm Still In Love With You"
||and I went to confront the rest of the Louvre.|
||I took headphones, and this was the playlist I was listening to.|
||If You Love Me Let Me Die 5
||If you only once visit every fifteen years, the Louvre is for all practical purposes infinite in quantitative capacity.|
||You can't possibly see all the things.|
||But if you only see the number of things you can reasonably see, it might as well be any of a thousand smaller museums|
||that also contain more than that many things,|
||"⇒ NEXT WORLD ⇒"
||so in attempt to apprehend the Louvrety of the Louvre, I took a very long and rather relentless brisk walk through as much of it as I could keep track of.|
||"Kizuna No Tabi"
||I do not claim that this is any less goofy than seeing three famous things and then leaving, really.|
||Nor did I pick these songs knowing that they'd end up being my soundtrack for an epic transit of the Louvre.|
||Ninja Sex Party
||But now they are.|
||Half of curiosity is not treating a half-unplanned expedition as half empty.|
||Forever Warriors // Forever United
||After a while I realized two mostly-obvious things about the Louvre:|
||"AWAKE -refreshing and speedy- (one)"
||First, it is as institutional as Art gets.|
||"Faster Than God"
||There is nothing there from later than 1850,|
||"Red Wine Collider"
||Dead and Alive
||and virtually nothing that has not been conclusively subsumed into the aggregate notion of artistic convention.|
||Ally the Fiddle
||You do not go to the Louvre to have your perceptions of the boundaries of art challenged,|
||you go to appreciate the catalogued gravity of accumulated preconceptions and practices.|
||"N U / V E R / K A"
||You go to temporarily accept Empire.|
||You go to stipulate historic patriarchy and technical dogmatism and uneven climate-control.|
||You go to wander through an effective retrospective temple to philosophical premodernism.|
||And second, in part as an indirect function of the first thing, and despite the token prominence of the famous trio,|
||the Louvre is mostly far more exhaustive than illustrative.|
||Where any other museum might have a single belief-staggeringly well-preserved pre-Christian Corinthian mural-urn,|
||the Louvre has a whole wing of rooms full of the things.|
||"Lluvia de fuego"
||A single urn is an artefact about its artefaction.|
||A thousands urns are kind of more like a comic-book collection.|
||"Im Wagen vor mir"
||You can stand in front of the Mona Lisa and think about its singularity,|
||but actually most of the effect of the Louvre is contra-singular.|
||There are fifty other paintings in the room with the Mona Lisa.|
||Just out of the frame of Leonardo da Vinci's immortal portrait I assume there must have been ranks of carefully positioned other Italian noblewomen and their corresponding immortality-aspirant portrayers.|
||"Ich werde Wind"
||Brot und Spiele
||Statuary profilerate like another era's action-figures, until I half expect to find Boba Fett among the cases of ivory Muses and obsidian oracles.|
||"Die Hörner Hoch"
||Here's a giant garish church-wall-sized rendition of some dense biblical allegory, commissioned for a pristine chapel you don't have time to visit anyway,|
||and then you realize they commissioned one of these every month, and you're in the first of a row of rooms dedicated to the entire serialization.|
||Here are Napoleon's "apartments", which do for rococo opulence what the the sample room-layouts in IKEA do for pragmatic minimalism. French pre-modernism is the antithesis of flat-pack.|
||Here is a grand courtyard of monumental statuary, and then you realize that the rooms surrounding it are also stuffed with marble gryphons and naked epitomes, and if you go through a short corridor on the lower level there's actually another grand courtyard on the other side.|
||"My Heart's A Lemon"
||Everybody Riot 3
||The Louvre is not a curated selection of objects|
||"Heal D World"
||so much as an negotiated encyclopedia of categories of selection,|
||obsessively refined and interpolated,|
||"To the One"
||To the One. Joy. 2
||but devoutly never to be expanded.|
||It is, in fact, overwhelming and more than a little tedious in a cheerful variety of senses,|
||"All At Once"
||which is true too of history,|
||and cities, and everything.|
||Dance With the Dead
||"Into the Shadows"
||Loved to Death
||Paris has the Louvre, but it also has endless tesselated patterns of chain stores.|
||It has the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and half the times we thought we spied that from afar, it turned out to be some other unrelated gothic tower.|
||"Born to Try (Alternative Version)"
||It is the moral capital of love, and also a place for wondering whether guys in burgundy tracksuits carrying literal armfuls of Foot Locker bags are buying gifts for distant home villages or making a weekly new-sneaker-release run.|
||"Air Fàir An Là"
||Air Fàir an Là
||It is the place for meticulous soup capped with precisely-aged cheese, and also hot dogs caulked into baguettes with cheese, and the idea that a grilled-cheese sandwich should be supplementally coated in cream sauce, and the inspired multi-cultural synthesis of the "Cheese Naan" (a gyro transplanted from pita to naan and then slathered with melted cheese).|
||"แบตสำรอง (POWER BANK)"
||We remember the nights we walked along the Seine, and the public Zumba classes we watched there.|
||Images Of Eden
||The road to the Arc de Triomphe is lined with H&Ms and mendicants rattling coin-seeded Five Guys cups.|
||I bought a gargoyle key-chain from Notre Dame, and an Eiffel Tower coffee-mug from the top of the Eiffel Tower, but at some point I also lost the hat I brought, so I barely broke even.|
||But this city is part of how we have a daughter, and she wanted to see it, and eat its chocolate croissants and Nutella crepes and raspberry sorbets. Now she has heard French trap booming out of Citroens, and become enraged by Miro and Klein and Ryman.|
||Yumi And The Weather
||A Cameroonian restauranteur tried to talk her out of her dinner order because spinach is bitter, but she would not be disuaded.|
||"Defiant Joy (White Horse)"
||You can't see everything in the Louvre, and even if you could, its treasures are at once definitive and trivial.|
||"Strange Fruits of the Sea"
||Paris is only another place. You can be there tomorrow morning, and coming back takes almost no time at all.|
||But after dark, for five minutes every hour, the Eiffel Tower erupts in sparkles.|
||"Girls Go Wild"
||You can't possibly see all the things. But you can try.|