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Japanese pop art at Versailles stirs controversy

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24 Comments
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scratch paper doodles turned into sculptures is not something i would pay to see.

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How about setting up a "Pop-Art" show next to the Great Buddah of Kamakura ? Or in a Buddhist Temple ? It's the same difference as that inappropriate "pyramid" right in front of the Louvre Museum... As far as I'm concerned, they're both insults to the country's patrimony. Move the exhibition to the Pompidou Centre - it may just improve upon it's ugliness...

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I really like what Murakama says about art, but I just can't get excited about his art in particular. It somehow makes me a bit nauseous. Not sure why. But I like what he says!

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It looks really cool. The Guardian had pictures up of the exhibition a while back and the juxtaposition was fantastic.

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i would like to see kaptain kichigai try to create these "scratch paper doodles" Manga is a work of art and very difficult to draw if you are not artistic or trained properly. I do like some of Murakami's work but Do agree with Ranger that some of his stuff does make me Nauseous haha.

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Eventhough his sculptures look great, they have no place in Versailles. I wonder why this exhibition is not at the Centre G. Pompidou?

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Murakami's work is not any less vulgar or insolant than some of the people who historically lived within the walls of Versailles -

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a blob shaped sculpture with a snaggletooth mouth openng to reveal a can of pepsi....a lion with a tiny body and a huge moonshaped face covered in a gleaming gold leaf...a mutant frog with dozens of grasping waving hands...This is not manga you tool, they are called doodles and theyre turned into sculptures not comic books.

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perhaps the french have no sense of humour??

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perhaps the french have no sense of humour??

How can you say that? They elected to show Murakami's work

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@ Kaptain: There is much art I would not pay to see. But it doesn't to mean to many others that it isn't "art" and that they wouldn't pay to see it. Glad to see smaller less known art forms gaining some public recognition.

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They might as well fill the exhibition area with the whole pokemon lineup.

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That has not the least interest. When you need to rent a famous historic monument to force people to see your creations, you have left the field of art to enter the one of shameless marketing. Even then, to take a few photos, invite the snobbish clique to a cocktail and boast in the media, 1 or 2 days are enough. Or he could have decorated a space in a lesser famous aisle (and sold tickets separately) in order to spare the famous halls. No, the installations will stay during months, blocking the most famous halls. It's gross, a total lack of respect for the visitors from all over the world.

Many tourists make a once in a life trip to visit Versailles. And they will find the place filled with totally unrelated objects. He wastes these people's visit. They want to see the historic setting, not an attraction park nor the FIAC, otherwise they'd go there directly.

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Murakami's show is like a loud, rude clown that has come to roost at the Hall of Mirrors for a few months. Must be a lot of money changing hands...

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Art in France is heavily sponsored by the state. Murakami was invited by the French government to present his work in Versailles. It is not a commercial operation (Versailles is not self-sustaining and relies mainly on government subsidies). I understand both sides of the controversy, although we should remember Versailles has always been a place for artists and creators from its creation.

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It's gross, a total lack of respect for the visitors from all over the world.

You are coming off like a snob. Art is in the eye of the beholder. He was invited by the State who pays for this. Just because the Versailles is old and famous, it doesn't deserve to be mixed with modern and lesser known expression?

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Usually I think art should be anywhere it wants to be. But this case, I am inclined to agree with the critics. Why blend pop art with classical when there are plenty of better suited spaces?

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Why blend pop art with classical when there are plenty of better suited spaces?

Maybe attendance is down given the economy and the State who funds it with shrinking taxpayer money is trying to develop a new customer base.

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@ Agothecles- I could take a dump in a box and slap the word "Art" on it - Ive got time, but the people that pay to see it just paid to see an "artistic" piece of sh**. apologies to Chris Farley for swiping this bit from Tommy Boy

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I like all kinds of art--even giant Brillo pad boxes and things that look, well, flung, and I certainly respect Murakami's right to build (or have built), display, and sell his pop art creations, but sometimes I think art is as much about where and how you view it as it is about the work itself. If he was less commercial, I might be tempted to say he's trying to put across some deep message about the intersection of East and West, or refinement and crassness, or some such thing, but I find it hard to credit him with any deep motivation. Just not my cup of tea...

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@Porter,

Your assumption is wrong. The attendance rate and the funding are not problems, on the contrary. And if that was, do you believe that would bring more visitors to make the place look like a shopping mall ? You have heard anybody saying : "Oh, they put a hamburger joint / a Jeff Koons expo in Versailles/ Le Louvre... I had no interest in flying to Paris, but know that I hear that, I go to JTB to get my ticket..." ? And Murakami is not even that famous, for 500 000 persons that have the wish to visit Versailles someday, there is one that has heard that Murakami existed. The promotion benefits him and the sellers of his hand-bags, only them. It's one-way.

Then I don't care what "art" is or should be. It's not the point at all. The "States" has not to be the new Louis XIVth and select any artist.

Versailles is one of the most visited historical sites in the world, and it's visited for its historical past. If I travel from Japan, I don't want to see the Egyptian pyramids with Xmas decorations, invaded by concerts of taiko nor by a Hawaiian culture fair. Those attractions can travel over the world and can be shown in my city, not the pyramids. That's the contrary of snobism. I think the famous sites are not to be made at the taste of the jet-setters that can afford the trip to Versailles as often as they want, nor the bored Parisians that already saw it 15 times and wants to see something fun in it. They are a minority that should not get priority on the rest of the world.

I don't want to see Monna Lisa nor Lady Gaga standing in the middle of Ryoan-ji garden. In each country, there are a few dozens of places that have to be preserved in their historic state, for history purpose. There are not hundreds, not thousands. That's not a huge effort. There exist an infinity of other possible places to exhibit new creations.

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“When I hear such things, I say to myself 'hey, don't hate the Playa, hate the game!'"

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it just shows the degree to which the void has grown in strength, sucking in everything like a tornado sweeping across an open field. the fact that the french government sponsors a show of kitschy quasi-crap that mocks the haut couture of the palace in a form that is as tasteless as the milieu of the current state of bejeweled teeth r&b singers, rhinestone cowboys, and the lady gaga spectacle graft promoted by the flash-in-the-pan fast food consumer treadmill diversion axis of evil marketing INC. spanning from madison ave NYC to LA to tokyo (the idols capital...). lo and behold the have stormed the versailles... low-brow has come to mean myopic and lack of vision, not the down-to-earth ethos casting a shadow on hollow pomp and ceremony.

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I think Murakami was selected because it is subversive: it is a reflexion on a modern degenerate "kawai" pop-culture that should theoretically be miles away from classical forms of art. Mixing both is considered subversive (at least mind-blogging) thus interesting. Anti-conformism in France is a kind of conformism though... (the art culture in Japan seems more conservative on this aspect).

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