At the Louvre, Beyoncé and Jay-Z Are Both Outsiders and Heirs

PARIS — More than art, more than music, what the cultural eminences of this city really love is gossip. So full credit to Beyoncé and Jay-Z — known, in tandem, as the Carters — for extending their cone of silence all the way to the City of Light. Not only did the first couple of American pop music impose their standard omertà on the songwriters, musicians, producers and technicians who helped them complete their new album “Everything Is Love”; they also got the mandarins of Paris’s largest museum to keep mum about their first single, whose video was shot in the galleries and the exterior plaza of the Musée du Louvre.

The video for the single “Apes**t” sees Beyoncé, Jay-Z and their dancers vamp on Pierre Paulin’s circular gray banquettes, drop verses in front of I.M. Pei’s entrance pyramid and squirm in formation in front of Jacques-Louis David’s gigantic “Coronation of Napoleon.” It’s a firecracker of a song — and, from an art critic’s perspective, more sophisticated and more genuine than their earlier forays into museums and galleries, such as Jay-Z’s dreary Marina Abramovic parody 

First things first: While some fans have exulted that only Queen Bey has the cash and the clout to privatize Europe’s grandest museum, there is nothing very rare about filming here. About 500 shoots take place at the Louvre every year. The Carters’ clip follows in the tradition of “Wonder Woman,” “Fifty Shades Freed” and such noble cultural achievements as “The Smurfs 2.” Film and television shoots serve as an essential marketing for the Louvre — attendance is up again, after terrorism-induced declines in 2016 — and as of 2015, the top fee was just 15,000 euros, or about $17,500, for a full day’s shoot in the galleries. There are hotel rooms here that cost more than that.

Beyonce & Jay Z

The Louvre

Beyonce + Jay Z