The art of collaboration: Contemporary art in historic sites

By Annabel Sheen

At the Palace of Versailles this summer, a towering crane from which cascaded a waterfall dominated the view of the seventeenth century landscaped gardens. It was one of a series of installations by contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson hosted by the palace from June to October. Eliasson’s installations are part of the palace’s annual programme of contemporary art that began in 2009. Their programme is one of the most high-profile examples of a historic site collaborating with contemporary artists, and it reflects a growing curatorial strategy of staging art within heritage sites that has developed over the past few decades.