A large installation in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles in France has come under scrutiny recently, after the artist told a French newspaper that the piece, called “Dirty Corner,” represents “the vagina of a queen who is taking power.”

Anish Kapoor, an internationally renowned sculptor and installation artist, later said he was misquoted and that the piece has “multiple interpretive possibilities,” but let’s be real: nah. A second installation inside the palace—with arguably fewer interpretive possibilities—is described by Business Insider as “a canon that fired red wax at white walls in a symbol of phallus and ejaculation of blood.”

Business Insider reports that many French media outlets are clutching their pearls, dubbing the installation a “scandal.” BBC interviewed several tourists on the grounds, who were equally taken aback: Megan, visiting from the U.S., said: “When you think you’re coming to Versailles you’d expect like classic French, maybe a big statue of some Roman god, but this just seems dirty, gross.” And a German tourist named Dunja told BBC: “It’s confusing, a big vagina and a palace.”

Actually, Dunja, it’s pretty straightforward! And while the artist’s obsession with all things “cavernous” will necessarily raise my hackles, the concept of provoking tourists with something unexpected and visually challenging is admittedly cool; Kapoor told the Times: “One wants to look at something and wonder, ‘What the hell is this? Why is it here?’”


Contact the author at ellie@jezebel.com.

Image via Associated Press.

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