The Louvre or Not?

The following article was published by Huffington Post on the front cover of their Living Fearlessly section.

Excuse me, but I’m going to be a bit sacrilegious for a moment.

I’m walking the 1st Arrondissement in Paris today, the neighborhood that houses the Louvre, the grand sentinel of the world’s art treasures.

Graffiti in Le Maris, the 4th arrondissement, in Paris

But I doubt I’ll even step foot in it. I have great respect the works of art and the masters who created it, but quite honestly, I’m bored by most of it. I’d much rather see what’s outside its walls, the graffiti around this City of Lights.


Many of you question my love of what you deem “gang art” or “destruction of property.” Yes, graffiti has its undesirables who unfortunately destroy the landscape of our inner cities. But I put them in the same category as those ambulance-chasing attorneys who muck up our legal landscape and drive up our medical costs because of their incessant suing.

Conversely, there are good, talented artists who deserve our respect. Much of what these young people paint has revolutionary messages intertwined in their canvases. Their work brings awareness to social injustices such as hunger, human rights and child trafficking. Much of it dares to make political statements in countries where it’s illegal to speak freely. Not unlike Picasso who took on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War or daVinci who introduced wild ideas such as flying machines, these artists aim to be change agents and, may I dare say, should be placed alongside the greats.

Outside the Centre Pompidou in Paris


On Saturday, as I walked the Le Marais, the 4th arrondissement of Paris, I happened on an art exposition that included several graffiti writers and their work. As I strolled around the exposition hall, I witnessed innovation in artwork like you’d never find in one of those stuffy old museums. At one corner a graffiti writer painted with such energy and furor that a large crowd gathered to watch.

Two young people were selling temporary tattoos, tags of local graffiti artists including one of my favorite, Paris’ own C215.

Yes, I must admit I once was afraid of the mere mention of graffiti. I challenge you to look at it and its message with the same wonder and appreciation as you do when you view the Last Supper or the Statue of Liberty. Peek around corners and in dark alleys where these artists dare to paint. I guarantee you that you’ll be just as – if not more – intrigued by what’s on the outside of the Louvre’s walls as is on the inside.

————————————— an aside:

{ During my 30-day walk of Manhattan in the summer of 2011, I came across the mesmerizing mural art and graffiti in the neighborhoods of East Harlem and Spanish Harlem. Feeling the pull to know more, I contacted this art form’s foremost photographer, Martha Cooper of New York. I was quite honored that through Ms. Cooper, I received a formal introduction. Pick up one of her many books where she has chronicled the history of public art through her wonderful photographic lens. }

  • Sallye Stapleton
    Posted at 23:12h, 05 September

    Lisa, I am glowing green at this point!!! I have long been enamored with street art and have an artist in Houston I follow around the neighborhoods. I wish he would paint my garage, but I am sure the NA would stroke and roll over!

    Please check out some of the “covered pasages” of Paris if you have a little time. Galeries Vero-Dodat, Colbert,Vivienne, Passage des Panoramas, Passage Jouffroy and Passage Verdeau…one has got to be close to you, I would think. What a terric use of old spaces.

    I am very proud of you…you know those Stapleton women!!! Eat a chocolate criossant for me…hell, eat two!!!

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 02:35h, 06 September

    Oh, Sallye, I’ve eaten several croissants for you already. And had more than my share of wine in your name! I’d give anything if you were here. Should we start planning a trip together in the near future. Yes, have seen Vivienne already. WOW. Didn’t know you were a graffiti lover. Should’ve known.

  • Constance Trover
    Posted at 09:43h, 06 September

    As soon as you see my name, you will know how I vote…huzzah for da grafitti and street art! My grandsweetie (who has Asperger’s) loved the sidewalk chalk, which led us to understand the depth of her ability to be a wonderfil artist, seems to have triggered the artist in her. Funny, she now uses many mediums for her artwork, but I’ll never forget the people who would stop and stare at the driveway, amazed at what an 8 year old was doing ( and running to the dollar store for sidewalk chalk for thier kids)lol! So have fun, Lisa, enjoy the “new art” you know how much it means 🙂 ps..would ya have a bit of the grape for me? Luvs ya, Connie

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 13:45h, 06 September

    honey, I am enjoying all those grapes. Bordeaux, Pinots, green and purple ones, too! I love the fact that you are embracing your granddaughter’s talent as you are. She AND her talent are true gifts.

  • Cleve
    Posted at 06:33h, 07 September

    Try to paint some of your own graffiti inside the Louvre. Not ON the Mona Lisa but just to one side or over her or surround her with it. Pay some vagabond to create a divertisement so you will have time. It will be fun and you’ll wind up on French TV! What a great and inexpensive way to promote your blog, as well as extend your stay in Paris for oh, I’d guess 15-20 years.

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 07:07h, 07 September

    See, Cleve, that’s why you and I make such good working partners. We ALWAYS think out of the box.

  • Sallye Stapleton
    Posted at 00:32h, 08 September

    I am ready!!! Come July next year, I am available.

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 03:00h, 08 September

    oh, Sallye, you and i would have a blast over here.

  • Janis Miller
    Posted at 09:43h, 14 September

    Love the graffiti art by the Pompidou. We stayed at the Hotel St. Merry just around the corner. And we were only on the 5th floor. Wish it had been there when we were.

  • Cannon Law
    Posted at 13:31h, 17 October

    This is a very nice article on the Louvre!

    I really like Paris. It´s a wonderful place to do some cultural activities. I´ve always wanted to visit the Louvre or climb the Eiffel tower

    Thanks for sharing the amazing pics!