CALL it a consolation prize for not getting Amazon, but come July 2nd the Plaxall Gallery will turn into The Louvre for eight weeks as the latter lends its piece de resistance ‘The Mona Lisa’ to New York City according to Jean-Luc Martinez, the Louvre’s director. Or maybe Fort Knox is a better analogy as the famed painting will be coming with a major security detail that will shut down the not-so-major streets surrounding the gallery. How did this extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime event come about and land in Long Island City’s lap? Quite simply, the pandemic!
Anyone who’s gone to Paris and viewed the painting in recent years, knows that it’s become wall-to-wall pandemonium since the advent of the iphone -> selfie-stick -> instagram. Every Tom, Dick, & Jane, as well as Vishnu, Ling & Ronaldo crams into a medium-sized room for a battle-royale to capture the perfect angle for a small-sized painting. Not covid-friendly! (and possibly the source of the worldwide spread of the virus #iblameleonardo). For the exact same reason the Metropolitan Museum wasn’t deemed suitable when the French Government decided to pull forward the Mona Lisa’s tour originally scheduled for 2024 (50 years since the last one) in light of the fact that it can’t be displayed at The Louvre this summer.
Instead, the Plaxall Gallery has been chosen as a one painting site due to its vastness, high ceilings, accessibility to local transport, and the ability to customize the conditions to hold not only the painting, but the crowds. Specifically for LIC, this will mean a gathering station, funnels, and shoots in the plaza area of Gantry Park, followed by socially-distanced lines heading north within the park before making a right onto 46th Avenue, which will be closed to vehicular traffic for the duration of the exhibit. 45th Rd on the other side of the gallery will also be closed, as this is where patrons will exit.
Due to crowd control and social distancing measures, only 4,500 people a day will be allowed to attend the exhibit, but 15% of admissions have been set aside for Queens residents. In a somewhat ironic twist, Facebook will be the sole sponsor of the show, whose ticket price is 50,000 Satoshi. When asked about this historic event coming to his family’s gallery, Matt Quigley of Plaxall stated “I’m not normally a very religious person, but given the momentousness of this exhibit, the fortuity of the circumstances that brought it to us, and the transformative power of the painting itself, there definitely was a higher power involved in the decision to nix Amazon. On second thought ‘No, there wasn’t.'”
Sadly, the protesters might be coming too. A spokes
woman manbot for the LIC Consortium, nine of whose members actually live in LIC, decried the exclusivity of the event and the fact that it will bring intangible joy and thus do nothing to meet the basic needs of the people. When asked what changes they would recommend to the exhibit, they insisted that the painting be evenly split into micro-pieces and distributed to all. No other solutions were proffered.
Plaxall Gallery To Display Mona Lisa In July – per The New York Times
Sculpture Center To Display Michelangelo’s ‘David’ In September – along w/ other one-named sculptors like Calder & Rodin
MoMA PS1 To Tether USS Enterprise In August – transporters to be placed along Jackson Avenue
Banksy To Sign 8×10″s At Major World Auto This Saturday – April Fools!