Art Explora has announced its plans to set sail, quite literally, as a mobile art museum touring the sea in a €32 million Euro sailboat.
Art Explora is a French non-profit established in 2019, with the goal of making art more accessible to all. Founded by tech entrepreneur and museum administrator Frédéric Jousset, the foundation rewards museums and art galleries for finding novel and innovative ways to reach or attract new audiences, people who might not otherwise interact with fine art.
Jousset’s career has been in technology – he co-founded the Webhelp Groupe, a conglomerate of business service call centers – but he has always served the arts. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, an academy of fine art, and has worked at the Musée du Louvre since 2007, first as a member of their Acquisition Commission and a lecturer who taught art history in prisons, and more recently as the administrator of the museum.
“The idea was to create a museum which would not be tied down to a single location, could go almost anywhere, and could reinvent itself permanently [because it has no] permanent collections,” said Jousset of the Artexplorer of the catamaran he is having built for his seagoing art show.
“The sea was instrumental in waging wars and trading goods—why not use it as a conveyor of culture?”
The Artexplorer, currently under construction in Italy with a tentative launch date in 2023, will be 46m long with a capacity for 2,000 visitors. Most art aboard will be digital, displayed on integrated screens. Admission will be free to all, with donations accepted, and there will be five cabins included so that an artist-in-residence program can be included.
Jousset’s dream for the ship is for it to integrate with local cultural institutions wherever it goes so that it is always promoting local artists as well as bringing classical examples.