Anish Kapoor's (controversial) contemporary art exhibition at Versailles

Anish Kapoor's "C-Curve" at Versailles

There's a lot of controversy surrounding Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor's newly opened exhibition in the gardens of Versailles and at the Salle du Jeu de Paume (Royal Tennis Court). Did he really tell the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche that a rusty, funnel-like structure installed smack dab in the middle of the world's most famous garden has an overtly sexual connotation: "the vagina of the queen coming into power"? Yes, he did!

Kapoor, however, rapidly back-peddled in response to French royalists and conservatives who protested that his steel and rock abstract sculpture entitled "Dirty Corner" is insulting to the memory of Queen Marie Antoinette. At a press conference last Friday, the 61-year old artist admitted that he had used the word vagina to describe parts of the exhibition but that he didn't remember referring specifically to the queen's vagina. "In any case," he said, "I don't see why it's problematic. ... The point is to create a dialogue between these great gardens and the sculptures."

The back of Anish Kapoor's controversial 60-meter (200-foot) long, 10-meter (33-foot) high "Dirty Corner" at Versailles

Kapoor's exhibition has also irritated the more liberal minded. "Oh, dear, is this how men still see women?" bemoans Michelle Hanson in her article, "Artists have done vaginas to death – will someone please tell Anish Kapoor".

Normally, I try to avoid Versailles like the plague during the summer months. It's too crowded. The pathways are frequently enveloped in swirling clouds of dust causing me to sneeze until my eyes water. But thanks to Kapoor's exhibition, this is the first time that my "A year in Versailles" card will be put to full use. I'm looking forward to the challenge of photographing the oversized shapes, textures and colors of Kapoor's works at various times of the day. If you like taking pictures and aren't disturbed by vagina-esque sculptures, there's a good chance that you'll find some of Kapoor's works mesmerizing. I certainly did.

To better enjoy the sculptures, try to schedule your visit during non-peak hours. If you only want to see the exhibition and not the château, go on a Monday when the palace is closed. The gardens are open every day from 8:00 am to 8:30 pm during high season.

For the works exhibited in the gardens of Versailles, the exhibition is free, except on days of the Musical Fountains Show and the Musical Gardens (every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday).

"Shooting into the Corner" is at the Jeu de Paume (Royal Tennis Court) located on Jeu de Paume street. The historic building is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 2 pm to 6 pm (last entry at 5:45 pm). Free entrance.

Kapoor Versailles - June 9 to November 1, 2015

Anish Kapoor's "Sky Mirror" at Versailles
Anish Kapoor's mesmerizing "Descension" at Versailles
Anish Kapoor's "Sectional Body preparing for Monadic Singularity" at Versailles
 Inside Anish Kapoor's "Sectional Body preparing for Monadic Singularity" at Versailles
Anish Kapoor's "Shooting into the Corner" at the Salle du Jeu de Paume (Royal Tennis Court) in Versailles


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