Jeff Koons Takes Versailles
In a telling reflection of the state of contemporary aristocracy, Michael Jackson and his monkey Bubbles moved into Versailles today.
Well, sort of.
This afternoon, in a move geared to revitalize Paris’ reputation for avant-garde art — and also to entertain the crowds of French schoolchildren taking their mandatory class trips to the palace — a new Jeff Koons exhibition opened at the Château de Versailles, eliciting both excitement and outrage from the French art world. The exhibition, which consists of 17 works placed all around the château (including Koons’ famous Balloon Dog, and the Hanging Heart, which sold for $23.4 million at Sotheby’s last year) will be up for three months, and marks Koons’ first solo show in France.
Predictably, responses have been mixed. While the right-wing French Writers’ Union has reacted strongly against the exhibition, organizing protests at Versailles and denouncing Koons for his ‘invasion,’ of a historic French site, other media reactions have been more positive, with Le Figaro rhadsodizing, “Jeff the First will be the new Sun King of Versailles,” and Libération dismissing the protesters as marginal “Catholic monarchists.”
And Jeff Koons’ thoughts on the matter?
“To be here in Versailles, it feels so profound, it feels so right.”