'Queen's Vagina' Vandalized at Versailles

Artist Anish Kapoor says defacing of metal sculpture due to right-wing intolerance
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2015 11:55 AM CDT
'Queen's Vagina' Vandalized at Versailles
Visitors walk alongside "Dirty Corners" by British artist Anish Kapoor in the gardens of Versailles outside Paris, France.   (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Vandals have spray-painted a controversial Anish Kapoor sculpture in the garden of the palace of Versailles outside Paris. The 230-foot red metalwork named Dirty Corner—which resembles a gaping cavern and had been dubbed the "Vagina of the Queen" by some French media—was sprayed Wednesday with yellow paint. In a statement today, the 61-year-old Kapoor put the blame for the defacing on right-wing intolerance, saying the installation "has seemingly given offense to certain people of the extreme political right-wing in France." He said the vandalism "represents a certain intolerance that is appearing in France about art. The problem seems to be political."

Two local officials have lodged formal complaints against the work, part of an exhibition that opened June 9 and runs until November, saying it degrades a national monument. Last year in Paris, a controversial inflatable sculpture by US artist Paul McCarthy called Tree was vandalized and deflated during an installation on Place Vendome after conservative French critics decried the sculpture on social media as evoking a giant sex toy. Kapoor, who inspected the Versailles site today, said he was considering keeping the yellow markings as an artistic statement of what he has called "the dirty politics of exclusion, marginalization, elitism, racism, Islamophobia." "Does the political violence of the vandalism make Dirty Corner 'dirtier'?" he asked. Workers were later seen partly cleaning the sculpture, however. (Read more Versailles stories.)

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