Paris’ famed Louvre is already one of the world’s most visited attractions. But what happens when Beyoncé and Jay-Z sprinkle a little bit of their star power on the popular museum? In 2018, the Louvre saw a huge spike in visitors thanks largely to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Apesh*t” video, released last June.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z renting out Paris’ popular Louvre museum is probably one of the biggest flexes of 2018. Historically, museums like the Louvre, which is filled with historical paintings and artwork from famous, majority white artists, are typically viewed as predominantly white spaces that are not always the most welcoming for people of color. Then you have Beyoncé and her phalanx of dancers occupying these traditionally white spaces by lying down on the steps in front of the Winged Victory of Samothrace statue, Jay and Bey standing in front of the Mona Lisa, and the singer’s dancers dancing in front of the Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon and the Coronation of Empress Joséphine by Jacques Louis David. Shutting down the museum was a major feat for the couple, as they repeatedly sang “Can’t believe we made it” throughout the song.
The “Apesh*t” video was viewed on YouTube over 147 million times since it was released last June. The Guardian reported that over 10.2 million people visited the museum in 2018, surpassing the museum’s 2012 record of 9.7 million visitors, and beating out the National Museum of China and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as the most popular museum.
“It’s clear that 2018 was a remarkable year for the international reputation of the Louvre,” the museum’s director, Jean-Luc Martinez, told a French radio, according to The Guardian. “The Beyoncé video, like the opening of the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, ensured that the Louvre was talked about across the world, and one of the consequences of that is the spectacular rise in visitor numbers last year.”
Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s impact was so profound that the Louvre even designed a special visitor’s guide based on the art shown in the music video. The guide begins at the Winged Victory of Samothrace and takes guests to other popular art from the video, like the Ceiling of the Apollo Gallery and the “Portrait of a black woman,” by Marie-Guillemine Benoist.