SammendragLouvre, Islam and the Three-headed Troll. On Power and Politics, secularism and more in French Museums.
The reception of French museum exhibitions varies significantly between the French and the non-French public, especially the Anglo-American. This was clearly demonstrated when the Branly museum - an 'anthropological art museum' - was inaugurated in 2006. The same phenomenon can be observed in the Grand Louvre - France's foremost museum of fine arts. This spring's exhibition on German art in Louvre was considered a scandal from a German point of view. The main case study, however, is Louvre's new museum of Islamic art, which was inaugurated in 2012. The reasons are threefold: French republican universalism, which claims a French-western hegemony in matters of aesthetics; French secularism (laÃƒÂƒ¯cité), which forbids anything religious in public institutions; and French anti-communautarisme, which fights communities based on ethnicity within the Republic. These three mechanisms - or ideologies - steer museum and exhibition practices in a way that is difficult to grasp for a foreigner. And they make the museum a place where power is exerted in a more intricate way than other Western observers are used to, and more efficiently than the public authorities' use of museums to political ends.
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