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American artist Paul McCarthy recently installed a sculpture in Place Vendome in Paris that is supposed to represent a joyous holiday symbol, but that's not exactly the vibe (no pun intended) that people are getting from it. The 80-foot-tall sculpture is titled simply Tree, but there's no denying that it looks a lot like a Hulk-sized (and colored) sex toy.
According to The Independent, the sculpture was designed and erected for the FIAC (Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain) festival which kicks off in Paris on Oct. 23 and runs through Oct 26. The FIAC website says that the sculpture ties into McCarthy's first major solo exhibition in the city, "Chocolate Factory," which opens at the Monnaie de Paris on Oct. 25.
The Independent reports that a "far-right group that opposes gay marriage" has been expressing their outrage on Twitter, saying that the sculpture "humiliates" Paris. A French newspaper called Le Monde reported that a 69-year-old woman slapped McCarthy and said "You’re not French and the work has no place on the square."
Who knew that a butt plug could cause so much trouble?
UPDATE: According to The Guardian, vandals cut the cables holding the sculpture up over the weekend. The police said that "the person responsible for the piece then decided to deflate it to avoid it being more seriously damaged."
Artist converts huge buttplug into huge condom in Paris square. pic.twitter.com/kacXI2QIy3— beaubodor (@beaubodor) October 18, 2014
UPDATE #2: Paul McCarthy has responded to the critics and vandals of his Place Vendome structure by deciding not to re-erect it, and by making changes to his "Chocolate Factory" exhibition. According to The Guardian, eleven of the chocolate making rooms have been blacked out to form a dark tunnel where visitors can smell the chocolate but can't see it being made. The tunnel will also feature a video and soundtrack of "aggressive sounds." Paris Mint spokesman Guillaume Robic told the Guardian, "It’s a dream, or a nightmare...It reflects the aggressiveness that McCarthy felt after what happened in the Place Vendome." So basically, it's like the creepy scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
It would be too perfect if those sounds were of the sexual variety.
[via The Independent]