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Louis XIV heir files suit to ban Koons exhibit

Video by FRANCE 3

Latest update : 2008-12-25

An heir of Louis XIV is taking the management of Versailles palace to court to ban an exhibition by US pop culture artist Jeff Koons on the grounds that the exhibit is a "desecration" of his heritage.

AFP - A French heir of Louis XIV has taken the current management of his ancestor's palace to court to ban an exhibition by modern US artist Jeff Koons that he feels dishonours his family's illustrious past.
   
Since September, half-a-million non-aristocrats have visited the Palace of Versailles to see several of Koons' major works displayed amid the former royal family's formal gardens and magnificent galleries.
   
His playful pop art -- including a giant topiary puppy's head, an inflatable lobster and a figurine of Michael Jackson and his pet chimp Bubbles -- has proven so popular that the show has been extended until January 4.
   
But Prince Charles-Emmanuel de Bourbon-Parme is not amused.
   
On Wednesday, judges at Versailles' administrative court were examining his request for an emergency injunction to halt the show, which his suit brands "a desecration and an attack on the respect due to the dead."
   
His complaint cites what he terms "right immemorial" of all mankind to see its forefathers respected and to have a "right of access to their heritage without pornographic restraint."
   
Koons, who was once married to renowned Italian porn actress La Cicciolina, has in the past courted controversy with explicit works on the theme of lust, but none of these is on display in Versailles.
   
For its part, the museum has denounced the lawsuit as redolent of an earlier era when great art like Gustave Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary or Charles Baudelaire's poems were denounced for outraging public decency.
   
France's royals have had no constitutional role since the 1789 Revolution, but certain historic families still affect noble titles.
 

Date created : 2008-12-25

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