The artists Kader Attia and Elizabeth Peyton will set up their own studios at the heart of the Musée du Louvre in Paris to mark the museum’s 230th anniversary this year, working on site from December 2023 year to June 2025. The residencies are part of a contemporary art initiative at the museum entitled “Les Hôtes du Louvre", of "The Louvre's Hosts".
Donatien Grau, head of contemporary programmes at the Louvre, tells The Art Newspaper: “The Louvre is the house of artists: they come here to be inspired by works from the past, distant and close, yet so present. Historically, 230 years ago, they were the revolutionary museum’s first audience.
“Today, they serve as a bridge towards multiple audiences…. having studios back in the palace, along with visits led by some of today’s most celebrated Paris-based artists, [plus] books and podcasts, are ways to highlight the Louvre as a contemporary museum of art.” The Louvre Conversations series later this year will incorporate guided tours by artists such as Attia, Lee Ufan and Simone Fattal.
Attia was born in Paris to Algerian parents. In 2016, he opened a new, three-storey exhibition and events space in Paris called La Colonie. The space, which closed in 2019, was a new kind of artistic “laboratory” for sharing ideas and showing works in the post-Brexit age, he said (Attia hopes to reopen the space).
In 2016, he won the €35,000 Marcel Duchamp Prize, France’s answer to the UK’s Turner Prize. Last year, he curated the Berlin Biennale. Works from his Mirrors and Masks series of sculptures are on show in an exhibition at Lehmann Maupin gallery in Cromwell Place, London, along with canvases by Mandy El-Sayegh, in the two-artist show Disfigurations (until 4 November).
Attia tells The Art Newspaper: “I’ll be at the Louvre for two years and can go in every day; it’ll be fascinating as we can access all areas. What interests me is the opportunity to work on ‘blindspots’ of modernity [areas neglected by commentators]. Contemporary art is filtered however by an audience which can be made up of rich visitors or hipsters. Working at the Louvre will bring me back to the public.”
Connecticut-born Peyton meanwhile is known for her lushly painted portraits of subjects ranging from Napoleon and Louis XVI to the climate change crusader Greta Thunberg. Her first exhibition in the UK was in a south London pub in 1995; in 2019 she became the first artist to have a solo show in London’s National Portrait Gallery when her works were interspersed throughout its historical collections. In June, an exhibition of her portraits of male subjects, including Elvis Presley, opened at David Zwirner gallery in London.