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Metal Art at Versailles

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Concord, New...
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Metal Art at Versailles

I was surprised at the shiny metal sheets lined up and laid out in the gardens at Versailles. And also the metal arch with rocks. I found them rather jarring. Can anyone explain their significance? Are they permanent? I Love Paris. Wish I could visit there about once a month! Can't do it - too far away, too poor - to OLD!

Paris, France
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1. Re: Metal Art at Versailles

I don't know the specifics of what is currently on display in the gardens of Versailles, but I did read recently that some permanent modern art is being installed in spite of the controversy.

Paris, France
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2. Re: Metal Art at Versailles

It's Lee Ufan. Versailles often host modern art artists.

…chateauversailles.fr/news-/events/exhibitio…

Paris, France
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3. Re: Metal Art at Versailles

I don't know about this particular art installation, but will say that things like this are in keeping with the original spirit of Versailles, so should not be shocking to anyone who knows a little bit about history.

You have to remember that Versailles was built by Louis XIII as a hunting lodge, then was converted by Louis XIV to be as exorbitant as possible, in every way, as a proclamation to the world that he was the most powerful person in the world. Versailles was considered one of the "wonders of the world", due to its extravagance and quality of workmanship. Everything in the place was the finest available, and anything that was "cutting edge" at the time - including fancy modern plumbing - was included.

I have been reading lots of recent comments on TA about how "gaudy" Versailles is, and how it is "just not all that". One friend told me that she was disappointed in the Hall of Mirrors, because she thought the mirrors should have been in gilded frames, not just stuck on the wall.

I wonder how many people really understand why Versailles looks the way it does - modern art included. I saw the Jeff Koons lobster, and thought it was hysterically funny - which was the whole point. Even kings need a little entertainment, now and then, and try as he might, Louis XIV just couldn't figure out how to wire the place for Internet...

Saratoga Springs, NY
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4. Re: Metal Art at Versailles

I agree with Patty. The original residents were huge patrons of the arts. What was modern and shocking then is now classy and refined to us. I think it's fun.

the big blue marble
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5. Re: Metal Art at Versailles

I was taught that the hall of mirrors and the extravagant chandeliers were marketing ploys to show off the superior craftsmanship of French industry to encourage foreign exports.

Kaua'i, HI
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6. Re: Metal Art at Versailles

Aloha from Kaua'i!

Every visit to Chateau du Versailles I have made they have had some type of modern art installation - both in the Chateau and on the grounds. The only time they didn't was when I visited in February/March....it seems to happen for the summer and early fall.

I do not claim to have any insight into modern art, I love art and have learned a great deal on my visits to Paris, but I am old fashioned and tend to love the more traditional types of art, up to and including Modigliano and early Picasso. Modern art I find jarring but understand that I just don't have the background in art to appreciate it.

However, I do find the modern art at Versailles very jarring indeed. I have a huge love of the history of the French Monarchy and architecture, etc. of that period. I go to Versailles wanting to put myself in the "feel" of the period of time just prior to the French Revolution, and the huge papier mache balls and objects in bright vermillion colors they had in 2012 (even in the bedchamber of Marie Antoinette) really bothered me.

It is easy to ignore them on the grounds, and I do, but inside the Chateau, I find it takes me out of the "place" I like to be in my head when I am vistiing there. You cannot ignore the ones they have had inside the Chateau....they slap you in the face....and maybe that is the point, I don't know.

I saw an article on the current modern art installation for this year, so I am prepared when I visit in September for what will be there. I am hoping it isn't as intrusive in the Chateau as it was the last 2 times I visited. architecturaldigest.com/blogs/daily/2014/06/…

The first time I saw one of these installations, there were huge rusted beams twisted into various shapes at the entrance to the Chateau as well as all around the grounds.....to me they looked like big rusty railroad ties....LOL

I am sure that there is a good reason for having them there and as I said....I don't have an extensive background in Art History, but speaking just for myself......I dislike them intensely.

Malama Pono,

Janet

Edited: 24 July 2014, 22:05
Paris, France
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7. Re: Metal Art at Versailles

They are there to generate more revenue, albeit through what exact mechanism I'm not sure. In theory there are laws against interfering with the views of a national monument, but apparently the laws can be ignored if there's enough money on the table, no matter how out of place, ugly, ill-advised, or blatantly profit-oriented the results might be. Versailles has been scarred this way for several years now with an ever-changing array of garbage modern "art." The original builders of Versailles put more work and talent into polishing doorknobs than modern artists bring to bear on the eyesores regularly scattered about the grounds today.

Concord, New...
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8. Re: Metal Art at Versailles

I appreciate the information. I googled Lee Ufan, and have learned something new! I wish I had had some advance notice (warning?), so I wasn't just confused by it all. There was nothing on their website that I noticed. But I have been wondering, -- who goes to Versailles other than the "adoring multitudes" of tourists? Do the French in general go? Do the Parisienes? Would they go frequently to see new exhibits there? I talked with a young girl driving a pedicab and she had never been to any of the sites she spent all day taking people to. Do they take groups of public school children when school is in session? Of course, there are so many historic sites in Paris that the children would never have time for reading & writing!

Val-de-Marne, France
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9. Re: Metal Art at Versailles

Since I grew up here and have lived here most of my life, yes, locals go to Versailles. Those who live near it may go enjoy the park just like any other public park, Parisians may go for different reasons: history, a day out of Paris, etc. I first went there on a field trip with school when I was a child but it was so different then, there were no crowds at all, we had the palace and gardens to ourselves (same at the Louvre). I then went again with my parents and then I went several times as an adult, but usually with friends or relatives from abroad. History teachers and art students go too.

And I don't even like the château de Versailles so I imagine those who like it must have been more often than I have! :)

10. Re: Metal Art at Versailles

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