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Anish Kapoor’s sculpture “Dirty Corner” (2011–15) at Versailles with paint sprayed on it by vandals. (photo by Sophie Walker, via Instagram)

Between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning vandals sprayed yellow paint on Anish Kapoor’s sculpture “Dirty Corner” (2011–15), the centerpiece of his current exhibition at Versailles and a work the artist recently likened to “the vagina of the queen.”

“Damage to the work ‘Dirty Corner’ was discovered Wednesday morning,” a spokesperson for the Chateau de Versailles told the AFP. “It was lightly sprayed with paint. The work is being cleaned.” According to Le Figaro, staff at Versailles is still trying to identify the vandals from security camera footage, and the palace’s director Catherine Pégard plans to lodge a formal complaint. The artist, meanwhile, sees the attack on his work as symptomatic of a particularly regressive tendency in French society.

Anish Kapoor’s sculpture “Dirty Corner” (2011–15) at Versailles with paint sprayed on it by vandals. (photo by Clément Grellier, via Instagram) (click to enlarge)

“If this act of vandalism says anything, it says more about a certain intolerance prevalent in France than about the art,” Kapoor told Le Figaro. “The problem seems political to me more than anything else; it comes from a very small minority for whom every creative act threatens a past that is considered sacred for completely non-artistic reasons. I hope that it is only a small group whose voices do not overlap with those of the majority. I find this phenomenon saddening.”

“Dirty Corner,” whose large, funnel-like opening is made of CorTen steel plates, is the biggest of the six works on view in Kapoor Versailles. The British-Indian artist’s comment in an interview last month with the Journal du Dimanche likening the artwork to “the vagina of the queen taking power” caused outrage in far-right circles in France.

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Benjamin Sutton

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...

5 replies on “Vandals Douse Anish Kapoor’s Versailles ‘Vagina’ with Paint”

  1. Any evidence that this wasn’t done by kids having fun? Public art, like most things in public, gets vandalized everyday.

  2. The vandalism is too little. This atrocious “art” should be immediately removed from Versailles. How can you compete with the beautiful classical sculptures and gardens? This is just another attempt by modern “artists” to uglify even more the world.

  3. Consider what Dali or Magritte might have said. One must never be offended by artists’ comments, they should always be taken with a pinch of Sorth.

  4. I think that sculpture is quite ghastly, and nothing to do with cunt at all, unless they’re meant to be that easy to get into. Unromantic bilge by another offensive charlatan. The French should have bombed it. I agree with Dumbo, to desecrate Versailles by placing this monolith of boringness anywhere near it counts as vandalism in and of itself. When will everyone grow up and realise that this idiot move in modern art to reify stupidity, ugliness, lack of love and lack of meaning is made by listless deviants not by artists and they should be treated accordingly, put in some early learning school and pitied. Meantime: I’m not sure whether the sculpture’s been vandalised for being bad art or sexist but I applaud the french for disliking one or the other or both, and generally the two are one and the same. They weren’t flipping the paint over the spurting dolphins in Versailles so have made a definite choice; and I think it’s unlikely they’d have defaced a Rodin. If humanity can’t evolve, it should stop moving.

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