Versailles Murakami exhibit slammed


About 20 members of a French rightwing group staged a protest at the Palace of Versailles against an exhibition of works by artist Takashi Murakami on the opening day of the event Tuesday.

They said displaying pop art at the palace is an insult to the World Heritage site.

Members of the group Versailles Mon Amour shouted in front of the palace, saying “Versailles is not a billboard for an advertising agency” and “Don’t touch my palace.”

The members said the group has gathered about 5,300 signatures from people opposed to holding the two-month exhibition at the palace on the outskirts of Paris.

The event has stirred controversy in France over whether pop art should be displayed at the World Heritage site, including in rooms once occupied by King Louis XIV.

Many tourists including Japanese visited the palace on the first day of the exhibition, which will run through Dec. 12, to see about 20 works, including Murakami’s 6-meter-high “Oval Buddha” sculpture.

“Mr. Murakami is also distinguished in Japan. But I don’t get the point of holding the exhibition here,” one of the visitors said.