THE LOUVRE by James Gardner

Washington Post Reviews THE LOUVRE by James Gardner

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In the Friday, May 22nd issue of The Washington Post in a review titled The past lives and present glories of the Louvre former Post foreign correspondent and former director of the American Library in Paris Charles Trueheart writes :

The Louvre is shuttered now, empty of humankind for the first time in eight centuries. But in a normal year, 10 million people cross the threshold of the world’s largest museum, one of the biggest structures on the planet. Theirs can be a bewildering, even forbidding, experience. ...In his courageous and erudite new book, critic James Gardner is bold to take in, and take on, what few mortals have the chance or the stamina to do. Think of reading this book as the full experience you are temporarily denied today, or may never have had the energy to undertake. ...Gardner is intent on persuading us to see the Louvre for itself, to appreciate the container as much as the content. ...Gardner is keen to explore the “many lives” of his subtitle and to point out all the ways the Louvre even today remains a work in progress and polyfunctional. President François Mitterrand, who served from 1981 to 1995, masterminded the remake of the complex, which created underground one of the biggest retail malls, biggest convention centers and biggest parking garages in Paris. Gardner, bless his heart, does not overlook even the most prosaic of these. The twilit acres of subterranean parking are “a stunning achievement, if not a thing of beauty,” he observes, and “can even be read as a sly parody of the glittering, sunlit splendor of the upper regions. ...Open the book and enjoy the visit.

The Louvre: The Many Lives of the World’s Most Famous Museum by James Gardner is published by Atlantic Monthly Press in North America and Atlantic Books in the UK.

James Gardner is an art critic and literary critic based in New York and Buenos Aires. He is the author of six books, including Buenos Aires: The Biography of a City. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, and the British Spectator. He was the art critic at the New York Post and wrote architecture criticism for the New York Observer, before serving as the architecture critic at the New York Sun. He is now a contributing editor at The Magazine Antiques.