Prince Sues Over 'Grotesque' Versailles Art

Takashi Murakami says his works highlight palace's fanciful style
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 25, 2010 3:27 AM CDT
Visitors examine sculptures by Japanese artist Takashi Murakamiat Versailles.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
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(Newser) – Off with their heads! A descendant of King Louis XIV is suing the managers of Versailles for a "vile" modern art exhibit in the hallowed halls of the famous abode of French royalty. Prince Sixte-Henri de Bourbon-Parme has taken the action to jettison Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami's cartoon characters, fiberglass balls, and giant golden Buddha because they sully "supreme good French taste" and show no respect for the glory of Versailles. "There are puppets in that exhibition that are frankly grotesque," he said. "These works undermine the unity of style of the museum." The exhibit, which opened last month in Versailles, has been slammed by several critics.

Some 5,000 signatures on a petition pleading with officials not to "shatter the harmony" of the palace have failed to eject the exhibit. Murakami says his kitschy creations help visitors to appreciate the over-the-top fanciful atmosphere of Versailles, notes the Independent. Two years ago, de Bourbon-Parme's nephew sued in vain to boot the giant metal dogs and cartoon animals of an exhibit by Jeff Koons there. The prince is a controversial figure in France, and backed ultra-right-wing political candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen in the last presidential election.

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