I had dinner on Friday night at the lovely home of my friend, Ruthie Sommers. While ogling everything in her gorgeous abode, I was struck by this enormous photograph by Patrick Tournebouef taken during the renovation of Versailles.
I had seen the show at the excellent M+B Fine Art gallery a few years back and was mesmerized by his work. Ruthie’s photograph is part of his “Museum Project,” during which he documented the renovations of France’s most exquisite museums. This image in particular got me thinking about the marriage of Versailles and contemporary art and how both the guilded ballrooms and the art benefit from the juxtaposition. Check out Jeff Koons shiny, irreverent work in situ in 2008:
To me, context is everything. Koons carefully selected the placement of each of the works and the results are provocative. I had seen many of the Koons works in a traditional museum setting (white walls, crisp lighting) and while I appreciated their absurdism and shiny perfection, it wasn’t until I saw them against the backdrop of the opulent excess of Versailles that the biting satire came to life. For me, each piece became more compelling in contrast to its surroundings. If you want to see more of this dynamite pairing, check out the sumptuously photographed book, Jeff Koons: Versailles.
God bless the folks at Versailles. First they mount a controversial show with Koons, and now it’s on to Takashi Murakami:I like the happy punk feeling of Murakami’s work and in the grand halls of Versailles, it feels fun and insouciant. Apparently, not everyone feels the same. The show has been slammed by the Coordination Défense de Versailles and Versailles Mon Amour as the “Disneyfication” of the palace. I don’t agree. What about you?