Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jeff Koons Blows Up the Château de Versailles

America has invaded the gilded chambers and sculptured gardens of the Château de Versailles in the form of a much-debated exhibition by the American superstar artist Jeff Koons
writes Elaine Sciolino in the New York Times.
“I’m thrilled with the totality of the whole experience,” he said Wednesday as he posed for photographers in the palace gardens in front of “Split-Rocker,” his 11-ton stainless-steel sculpture covered in 90,000 live flowers and plants. “It’s so profound — the high point of my artistic life.”

Not everyone here was as pleased by the installation. Several dozen people demonstrated outside the palace gates early Wednesday, a protest organized by the National Union of Writers of France, a little-known, right-wing group dedicated to artistic purity in France.
Protests?! Against the authorities and the state?! Maybe this ought to be a job for La Baf as well…
The exhibition “strikes at the heart of a civilization” and “is an outrage to Marie Antoinette,” said Arnaud-Aaron Upinsky, the group’s chairman.

He has called the exhibition “a truly sullying of the most sacred aspects of our heritage and identity,” and in an open letter in July to the minister of culture, Christine Albanel, he demanded that the exhibit be canceled.

…Some visitors to the museum seemed unsettled by the presence of Mr. Koons’s work in the grand 17th-century edifice, with its marble walls, ceiling paintings, marble sculptures, chandeliers and more than 350 mirrors.

Jumko Jaim, a homemaker from Tokyo on her first trip to Paris, called herself shocked at the sight of the porcelainlike ceramic “Michael Jackson and Bubbles” in the center of the Venus Salon.

“This object doesn’t suit the beauty of the décor,” Ms. Jaim said. “It spoils it. There’s so much nice modern art in the world. Why this?”

…“I paid to see all of Versailles,” said Sylvie Guérin, an administrative technician from Montreal. “I didn’t come here to see a red lobster that I can buy in a gas station in Quebec to go in my pool.”
If Jeff Koons can sell a red lobster from a Québec gas station to go in the pool for 12 million Euros, maybe plain individuals (such as La Baf members) ought to bring their own inflatable toys to the Château de Versailles to sell for 12 million Euros as well…

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