European Arts Forced To Take The Commercial Route

The arts and commerce do not mix, they say. Can you imagine the hue and cry it would raise if the Louvre in Paris forged an alliance with Pepsi Co.? Yet, that day might not be far. Circumstances are compelling museums across Europe to woo commerce for a change. They cannot afford to be highbrow anymore, certainly not when the economic crisis is forcing governments to cut back on subsidies to art and culture.

The economic squeeze is forcing European museums to seek out new sources of revenue. Many have already raised ticket prices and laid off employees. The prospect of cutbacks in salaries is also looming large. These are changed circumstances and the upkeep of one’s heritage is a costly proposition. So museum authorities are turning to less traditional methods of raising revenue.

Billboards adorning heritage structures may not even have been an option five years ago. Today, a huge billboard advertising Chanel No. 5 adorns an outer wall of the famous Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The Doge’s Palace in Venice took a similar route last year, causing public outcry. Meanwhile, having raised its ticket prices, the Louvre is considering tying up with Swiss luxury watchmaker Breguet.

As for the Palace of Versailles, it has more ambitious plans in store. Planning is afoot to build not one, but two hotels, within the palace grounds. Several museums have even started organising global tours of their masterpieces, thereby risking wear and tear. Indeed, desperate times call for desperate measures. With endowment prospects not looking good, more out-of-the-box solutions are required to help the European arts weather these trying times.

Via: The New York Times

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