Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Inspired by...Murakami at Versailles

I wish I had a Paris trip planned before December 12, so I could see the Takashi Murakami installation currently at Versailles.

Baroque on Baroque.

So fanciful, bright and colorful--and such a contrast to Versailles, but somehow strangely at home, too.

If these two could have a conversation, what do you think they'd talk about? 

The Tokyo-born Mr. Murakami is known globally for his work with accessible forms that often blur the line between art and pop culture. Most familiar might be his collaboration with Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton.


Just as Murakami delivered a new way to look at the venerable Louis bag, he's giving us a new way to experience Louis XIV's Château des Versailles.

Not everyone is thrilled with the installation--I came across an editorial in the New York Times last weekend that defends the exhibit against calls for a court order of it's closure from Louis XIV's descendant Prince Sixte-Henri Bourbon-Parme, who says that its "denatures" French culture.

Maybe he needs to lighten up! This isn't the first installation at Versailles to raise some eyebrows and wrinkle a few French noses. Several dozen protesters demonstrated outside the place gates when a Jeff Koons exhibit opened in September 2008--saying that it threatened they "artistic purity" of France.

A Jeff Koon's balloon dog threatens the artistic purity of Versailles

When we visited Versailles last year, we found ourselves amongst the work of contemporary French artist Xavier Veilhan.

Veilhan described his project as "aiming to establish a new bond between visitors to the palace and the spaces they come into contact with." (Photo by Heidi Diaz)

The Times editorial, defends Murakami's place at the palace saying, "You may come to look at Murakami’s work, but his sculptures force you to turn your attention back to Versailles." I agree--that's the impact that Veilhan's installations had on me. While taking in the contrast and newness of the contemporary pieces, I had to take a closer look at their historic surroundings.

Another piece by Veilhan. (Photo by Heidi Diaz)
“I am the Cheshire cat that welcomes Alice in Wonderland with its diabolic smile, and chatters away as she wanders around the Château,” Mr. Murakami says on the palace's website. What a wonderful companion to wander through Versailles with!


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