Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Full-Scale Frippery!

I'm partial to a bit of opulence.
This is the tail end or hemline (and the ordaining Priest's vestment) of my newest niece at her Christening.
 I made her an 'opulent' frock, my sister-in-law loved it.
 Here's me frocked up for dinner, on a Tuesday night.
My usual, Baroque style dessert standard (Tuesday night.)
The Arts and opulence, of course go together, a bit like 'love and marriage', or 'horse and carriage', really.
I've been lucky to work with many wonderful Arts educators that have taught me lots about art and beauty, but in particular I am going to credit my ol' back in the day work colleague N, for inspiring this post, and the lovely Bea, from the Dangerous Liaisons blogspot.
Now, N is an expert in engaging the junior workers in high brow thinking, for sure.
Bea recently wrote about Marie Antoinette, which got me thinking about my visit to the Sun King's Palace at Versailles, and N was the first person to get me focused on the Pop artist, Jeff Koons.
And certainly both this artist and le Chateau have 'polarised the masses'!
N was really natty at writing clever task sheets for students, she developed this great unit on Koons' dynamic installation or sculpture Puppy (1992), with focus questions like, 'How is irony evident in Puppy?' and 'What is Koons' intent?'
You can well imagine the sorts of discussions I had with the fifteen year old workers!
Puppy is included below, what do you think?
Koons describes Puppy, as God-like, in one interview.
I loved that Puppy unit, and I've still got the task sheet, because 'I'm a hoarder'.

Koons built this sculpture for the Documenta in Kassel 1992. Nowadays its place is permanently at the front of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. Before then, it travelled around the ridges, even coming to Sydney, Australia!
Anyway, to get to the point, someone had given Koons the keys to Versailles in 2008, and he had jam-packed most rooms of the Palace with his Pop art sculptures. Many were aghast at this carte blanche approach!
Here's my forehead, next to my lovely friend S, with Koons' Hanging Heart in the background.

This is lovely S, squint and you'll see she is almost being upstaged by Jeff's ex Illona Staller, hugging the Pink Panther. Who would imagine!
Luckily, the flash didn't go off.

Balloon Dog (Magenta)

My own Balloon Dog (White)

More of what Jeff did to the Chateau. Mind you, it is about him missing his children after a sticky divorce.

Here's Bubbles and MJ, in gold leaf.

What the Chateau normally looks like.
The Guardian Newspaper stated, 'Revolution is in the air at the palace of Versailles - and, this time, it has nothing to do with an unpopular leader and his fashion-conscious wife
 (although things could be better for Sarko and Carla,
it has to be said.)
(On that note, who's sad they won't see Carla anymore trotting around as the French President's Mrs.?)
I'll miss seeing Mrs Sarkozy around the traps.
The Guardian said,' Delighting contemporary art fans and dismaying some of France's most noted historians, Jeff Koons is flying in to exhibit some of his most famous works in the chateau and gardens of the country's
most illustrious national treasure.
Rabbit, Koons's chrome steel sculpture from 1986, will take pride of place on a marble pedestal in the Salon d'Abondance. The kitsch classic Balloon Dog (Magenta) will sit alongside a Veronese masterpiece in the Salon d'Hercule. And, as they leave the show, visitors will be treated to the sight of Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold) suspended from the Queen's Staircase. (A fitting location, perhaps, for the work which made Koons the world's most expensive living artist when it sold for $23.6m in 2007. Marie Antoinette, as we know, was never one to turn down a luxury, especially when it was pink and tied with a big gold bow.)
Incongruous? Anachronistic? A betrayal of French culture? Koons has faced down all these accusations ahead of his first major Gallic show with typical nonchalance. But he is convinced he is bringing a new energy to Versailles - and that, contrary to his critics' assertions, he is not just an 'agent provocateur'.
Contemporary art "is so imprisoned in the present that juxtaposing new works with old ones allows you to rediscover a connection between history and the history of art," he mused.
 "The baroque is the ideal context for me to highlight the philosophical nature of my work."
But, unsurprisingly, not everyone shares his view. One lofty voice of dissent comes from Edouard de Royère, creator of the Fondation du Patrimoine and one of chateau's principal patrons. "I am not against contemporary art but I am absolutely shocked at its descent on Versailles, a magical, sacred place," he said.

A cherub in Volnay, in the Burgundy region finds out about Jeff's work on exhibit at Versaille.
 Edouard de Royère concludes, "Any tourist that comes from China or Australia will go home with this extraordinary picture of France. Even for three months, Jeff Koons at Versailles is a mistake."


  1. Dear Flora,
    I am also a very big fan of frippery, Koons and all things Art, S, fluffy pets and tasty (GF) treats. It seems we have a few things in common. I am extremely jealous of this witty blog and your adventures to the most fascinating of places though. I wake up every day, feed the animals, then tuck into a good frippery read :D

  2. Hi Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom title is most fitting, it is so great to have you on board! You Minerva, have also ensured I have involved myself in more than just embroidery or the application of glitter over the last years, with your knowledge of conceptual art, even your situational realism causing my brain to twist and turn.