Anish Kapoor Calls Vandalism at Palace of Versailles an ‘Inside Job’

Who is behind the graffiti of Kapoor's 'Dirty Corner' installation?

British sculptor Anish Kapoor poses in front of his work prior to the opening of the
British sculptor Anish Kapoor poses in front of his work prior to the opening of the "Kapoor in Berlin" exhibition on May 17, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images.

One of the biggest art scandals of 2015 was the controversy surrounding Anish Kapoor’s Dirty Corner, a large-scale art installation nicknamed “the queen’s vagina” at France’s Palace of Versailles that repeatedly became the target of vandalism. Now, the artist says the blame goes straight to the top, reports the Art Newspaper.

“I believe it was an inside job,” Kapoor told the South China Morning Post.

Last month at Seoul’s Kukje Gallery, Kapoor denied likening the piece to Marie Antoinette’s vagina. “I never said vagina—I said ‘she sits here on the lawn’ or something to that effect,” he insisted.

Anish Kapoor's <em>Dirty Corner</em> after it was vandalized. Courtesy of Anish Kapoor.

Anish Kapoor’s Dirty Corner after it was vandalized. Courtesy of Anish Kapoor.

Nevertheless, the work became a lightening rod for controversy, which the artist believed was politically-motivated.

Kapoor alleges that he largely funded the efforts to remove the first round graffiti. “Versailles was pathetic,” he added.

When the statue was vandalized a second time, with anti-Semitic slurs (the artist’s mother is Jewish), Kapoor opted not to go through the effort of cleaning it again. It was an act of protest, but it was not without consequences.

In response, right-wing politician Fabien Bouglé took the artist to court for displaying the offensive slurs. To Kapoor, the speed of the action against him seems suspicious.

Anish Kapoor's <em>Dirty Corner</em> after it was vandalized. Courtesy of Anish Kapoor.

Anish Kapoor’s Dirty Corner after it was vandalized. Courtesy of Anish Kapoor.

“I’d made three reports to the police and to this day have had no response from them,” he noted. “The councilor managed to get a court hearing within hours. I’ll say it again—it was an inside job.”

Ultimately, the graffiti remained (although covered up with gold leaf in accordance with the court’s ruling), and the work was put into storage. A second appearance is in the works—Kapoor said it was going to “some remote place” in Denmark, and SCMP believes it is headed to the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art.


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