Alive and Kicking | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Alive and Kicking

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In terms of art stewardship, there are a handful of institutions that we simply could not do without. The Louvre, one of the oldest and largest of these museums, is among these precious places. Not known for its cutting-edge offerings (with works like Leonardo’s
Mona Lisa and The Virgin and Child with St. Anne, David’s Oath of the Horatii, and Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, there’s really no need to be trendy), the Louvre has recently taken steps to assure that its "wow" offerings aren’t only historically seated. German Anselm Kiefer is the first of four contemporary artists who will create permanent installations in the museum since Georges Braque painted an antechamber ceiling in 1953. These new works will not just hang on a wall or move from hall to hall, but will become part of the complex’s interior design. The other artists who will be leaving a permanent mark on the museum will do so over the next three years. They are Cy Twombly, Francois Morellet and a fourth, yet unannounced, artist. Kiefer’s offerings, recently finished, are housed in a stairwell leading into the Egyptian and Mesopotamian antiquities wings. They include a self-portrait riddled with lead, silver and gold, as well as two arrangements of sculpted sunflowers—one surrounded by lead books and the other, titled Danaë, displays a lone flower stalk, sans petals, with gold-tipped seeds at its base.
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