'Exceptional' attendance sparks extension of Koons's Versailles show

Mixing Jeff Koons's outrageous artwork with the extravagence of France's Château de Versailles appears to be a success, as organizers have extended the U.S. pop artist's show through the new year.

Mixing Jeff Koons's outrageous artwork with the extravagence of France's Château de Versailles appears to be a success, as organizers have extended the U.S. pop artist's show through the new year.

More than 250,000 people have visited Jeff Koons Versailles since it opened on Sept. 10, curators at the lavish French palace outside of Paris said this weekend.

That attendence is "an exceptional figure given there are usually few people during this period, after the summer," they said in a statement.

Originally slated to end Dec. 14, the show will now be extended until Jan. 4.

The exhibit comprises 17 of Koons's eye-popping sculptures and installations located both inside and outside of Versailles. The displays often offer odd juxtapositions with the traditional paintings, busts, tapestries and landscaping of the former royal palace.

The featured works include his infamous porcelain sculpture Michael Jackson and Bubbles and his brilliantly coloured Balloon Dog and Lobster.

A small group protested against the exhibit on the first day it opened to the public, charging that Koons's art was better suited for Disneyland than for Versailles. However, Versailles president Jean-Jacques Aillagon defended the Koons exhibit as a means of keeping the palace vibrant.