The Palace of Versailles, the opulent home of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, now houses a sculpture that has been deemed by some as offensive.
It all started when sculptor and installation artist Anish Kapoor reportedly told the French newspaper Journal du dimanche that his installation “Dirty Corner” suggests “the vagina of a queen who is taking power.” Kapoor has since said that the work has “multiple interpretive possibilities,” but it was too late.
The BBC reports that tourists found it gross and confusing. “This is a bit of a mess, a heap of metal, rocks,” Versailles resident and retired professor Pierre Dhainaut told the Associated Press. “I know it is a composition, but let’s say that this is ruining the perspective that visitors of the castle may have.”
“Kapoor’s giant vagina at Palace of Versailles. Contemporary art continues to disfigure our heritage.” tweeted Robert Ménard, the mayor of Beziers. Versailles’s mayor tweeted that the artist had “slipped up.”
But not everyone thinks that Kapoor slipped up. “I think it is appropriate. I mean, a human body is a work of art.” Brittany Watson, a 28-year-old visiting from Virginia, told the AP.
“Dirty Corner” is just one of six large sculptural installations that are on display throughout the palace grounds as part of Kapoor’s solo summer show that opens on June 9, reports the New York Times. Kapoor told the Times that the installation is the main focal point of the show and consists of 400 or 500 tons of stones “with a big vulvalike form sitting watching. ”
“I don’t see why it’s problematic,” the artist told Agence France-Presse on Friday, “The point is to create a dialogue between these great gardens and the sculptures.”