On January 29 and 30, between two shopping trips, customers of the Intermarché de la Ronde Couture, in Charleville-Mézières (Ardennes), were able to discover up close and be explained by the menu the history of a medallion at the effigy of the poet Arthur Rimbaud, the child prodigy of the city, or a pistol from 1770 which served as a model for American rifles. These two objects – which were not for sale – as well as three other artefacts presented in the unoccupied bar of the commercial gallery, came straight from the Museums of the Ardenne and Arthur-Rimbaud.
“At first, people would tell us ‘museums are not for us, we don’t care’, and, listening to the presentations, they ended up being convinced. »Lucille Pennel, Director of the Arthur-Rimbaud Museum
For months, the directors of these two establishments, Carole Marquet-Morelle and Lucille Pennel, had been desperate to reconnect with the public. Like all of their colleagues forced to (re) close their doors in October 2020, they have tried to (re) reinvent themselves online. “But we were coming to the end of the race”, says Carole Marquet-Morelle, because “The quintessence of the museum is the encounter with the original object”.
This is impossible between the four walls of the building? Never mind ! The two women decide, with the blessing of the mayor of Charleville-Mézières, Boris Ravignon (Les Républicains), to circumvent – legally – the restrictions.
Contact is made with this food hypermarket which, for a weekend, agrees to welcome them free of charge. With an honorable result given the unusual context – 76 visitors on Friday, 126 on Saturday. “In the beginning, people told us ‘museums are not for us, they don’t interest us’, and, listening to the presentations, they ended up being convinced”, Lucille Pennel reports.
This baptism of fire with the appearance of a commando operation in any case gave him, and his colleague, want to repeat the experience, in February or March, in another supermarket belonging this time to the Casino group.
The Louvre and the Musée des Confluences before them
In the fall of 2020, the Louvre had already moved to the Westfield Carré Sénart shopping center (Seine-et-Marne), presenting reproductions on the theme of archeology and comics. Initiatives outside of the agreed patterns, which nevertheless offend the purists. “Yes, we have to find new ways of reaching the public, but it is not by rushing to look for them in shopping centers”, objected Benoît Lamy de la Chapelle, director of the Synagogue de Delme art center (Moselle). And to add: “Art is signs, but the hypermarket, the shopping center, it is the saturation of signs and sounds, a context in which art can quickly get lost and disappear if the presentation is not is not sufficiently thought out. “
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