World-renowned DJ David Guetta rang in 2021 with a dazzling, state-of-the-art performance at the Musee du Louvre that was livestreamed to a global audience. Sponsored by Xiaomi and PS5, the 70-minute production was filmed in the courtyard of Paris’ largest art museum, showering its iconic glass pyramids with lights from 450 projectors as the electronic producer dropped his name-making tracks like “Titanium.”
Attracting over 20 million viewers, this was the third edition of Guetta’s United at Home livestream series, following similar charity events in New York City and Miami. Staged during an unprecedented time when activities like live music and museum-going have been curtailed, the series didn’t just aim to entertain a locked down audience, but has raised funds for COVID-19 relief by benefiting food aid and cultural charities.
Why it matters
An artistic statement — The Louvre has long been a site for artist interventions and music performances — from JR’s series of optical illusions to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s descent on the institution’s galleries for their “Apeshit” video. Guetta’s set at the Parisian landmark illuminated its courtyard and the Louvre Palace with cascades of neon beams, effectively casting its I.M. Pei-designed pyramids in a new light. Accompanying the performance were images of artworks from the Louvre’s archives, handpicked by Guetta to complement his music, before a flashy finale of fireworks lit up the sky.
With such collaborations, Sophie Grange, the Louvre’s Head of the Communications Department, tells Jing Culture & Commerce, artists are “free to have their own interpretation of the collection and say what they want to say.” Guetta’s use of the Louvre’s collection was, she adds, “well-interpreted”: “It’s very interesting to promote this idea that artists and everyone can be inspired by the Louvre today and make their own Louvre in everyday life.”
Continued engagement — Like the rest of the world’s museums, the Louvre shut its doors for six months in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions, recording a precipitous drop of 72% in audience numbers. Its digital efforts, naturally, have stepped up over the past year, encompassing social media engagement, video tours on YouTube, and e-commerce partnerships.
Guetta’s livestream falls very much within that same digital engagement framework, while offering a visual reminder of the Louvre’s continued vitality. “We were so happy to bring this image of the Louvre — very positive and very alive — around the world,” said Grange.
Giving back — Guetta’s first two United at Home livestreams in the U.S. raised more than $1.5 million for charities and his third was similarly philanthropic. It fundraised for charities including UNICEF and Les Restos du Coeur, a local food aid organization, and the Musee du Louvre itself. Of the impact of the pandemic on the cultural sphere, Guetta said, “I think about clubs, festivals, and the world of culture. I know they are going through a difficult time right now and I would like to express to them my full support.”
What they said
“The Louvre is usually a place where you can meet the world through its collections as well as the many people visiting from different countries… We really liked the idea of United at Home; we thought it was exactly what we all needed during this particular year.” — Sophie Grange
“After a difficult year, I couldn’t have wished for a more special way to ring in 2021. The Louvre is admired all over the world and to have the opportunity to make it our own for this show is a huge honor. Thank you to everyone who joined in and donated and if you haven’t already, you can still check out the show and donate. Big thanks to the Louvre for having us and let’s hope 2021 promises some positive change for the cultural industries and doors will open again soon.” — David Guetta