Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Gaydon: Twinned With The Louvre

(Author's Note: This article was written after confirmation that the National Motor Museum at Gaydon had been leaving priceless exhibits outside, unprotected from the elements, because of lack of space)

Outrage at Mistreatment of Louvre Exhibits.

There was mounting anger on the streets of Paris last night, as a small but vocal crowd gathered to protest the mistreatment of many valuable artworks by the Musée du Louvre, Paris. Protesters said that some priceless, irreplaceable works, such as David’s Oath of the Horatii and Alexandros’ Venus de Milo, had been left in totally unsuitable conditions for their preservation. Photographic evidence, meanwhile, suggested that paintings and sculptures were being stored outside the museum’s walls, in an insecure location by the site’s waste disposal facilities.

In a recent press statement, the museum’s press director, J Merde, gave assurances that the exhibits were being stored outside only temporarily, and that the situation would soon be rectified.

“This process has been more prolonged than we anticipated as planning permission has had to be sought from the local authority. As a result we have had to keep some paintings outside, a situation we are clearly less than happy with…We have been able to move a significant number of the most fragile paintings… into covered storage and we hope to complete the process for all the collection with 4-5 weeks. At the same time we have also taken the opportunity to inspect paintings and sculptures in our workshop. We certainly have no intention of keeping any works outside during the winter period and have no plans to sell any works from the reserve collection.”

However, protesters point to the recent grant given to the Musée by the Lotto, which has been spent on an interior remodelling rather than the preservation of existing works. It is strongly felt that the money has, at least in part, been mis-spent. Merde insists that “We have taken the opportunity to spruce up the rest of the museum,” and that “Whilst it may feel more empty, this is in response to an often-raised comment by visitors that they would like more space around the exhibits, to view them more easily.” Many protesters, however, see this as an indication that the displaced works will not be returned to public viewing, and instead will be allowed to languish in inappropriate conditions for the foreseeable future.

The French Secretary of Culture, Jamie Lesoignons, was unavailable for comment.

Then, with a jolt, Russ woke up in his bed, reaching immediately for two aspirin. His head was spinning, and he was appalled by what he had dreamed. No museum would be allowed to carry on like that, would it? Would it?

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