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Versailles, France: A cultural mashup

Versailles

Yes, it's gilding the lily in a way. But anyone who knows Takashi Murakami's artwork and philosophy about art knows that reimagining Versailles was practically inevitable.

That's because the Japanese artist developed the Superflat movement, which rejects distinctions between "high" and "low" art, while implicitly criticizing Japanese popular culture. In 2008, Time magazine named him one of the most influential people in the world.

Murakami says Versailles is "one of the greatest symbols of Western history" and the lure must have been irresistible. If you visit while the exhibition lasts (through December 12th), the term hall of mirrors will take on a whole new meaning. The artist's pieces—by their aesthetic, their playfulness, and their placement—force the viewer to consider a clash of cultures in many senses of the phrase.

Not everyone will like it. But for anyone who's been to Versailles before and has that experience tucked away, this experience offers a genuinely new and bracing experience of these beautiful, old halls.

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