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18 Oct, 2014 09:46

Giant sex toy or Christmas tree? Paris baffled and outraged (VIDEO)

Giant sex toy or Christmas tree? Paris baffled and outraged (VIDEO)

A giant green Christmas tree designed by a US artist was erected in a Paris square, but city residents say the artwork resembles a sex toy. Some outraged people even attempted to deflate the sculpture.

The 24-meter-tall sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy, was erected in the Place Vendome in the center of Paris.

According to McCarthy, the “Tree” installed for the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) scheduled October 23 to the 26 in Paris, is “an abstract work.”

“It all started with a joke. Originally, I thought that a butt plug had a shape similar to the sculptures of [Romanian artist] Constantin Brâncusi. Afterwards, I realized that it looked like a Christmas tree,” he told French Le Monde. “People can be offended if they want to think of it as a plug, but for me it is more of an abstraction.”

However, some Parisians say the artwork looks like a 'butt plug', a sex toy inserted into the anus. Definitely not a Christmas tree!

"I'll get right to it, for me it's a plug! But hey, you can see other things, but certainly not a tree as some claim,” a local man told Ruptly.

"This is one of the most beautiful squares in Paris - I like contemporary art, that is not the problem, but this work ugly, I find the color ugly, I find it violent at this location,” a local woman added.

Godzilla coughs in Paris, dislodges buttplug RT @ParisZigZag Très bon cru pour la fiac 2014 si vous voulez notre avis pic.twitter.com/dUMehY9xJq

— Jofy (@sir_jody) October 16, 2014

McCarthy was reportedly attacked by a man who hit him three times in the face and told him, “you're not French and the work has no place on the square.”
The hashtag #PlugGate has recently appeared in social media. Hyperallergic, a Brooklyn-based arts blog called the sculpture "Paul McCarthy's XXXmas Tree."

Un plug anal géant de 24 m de haut vient d'être installé place Vendôme ! Place #Vendome défigurée ! Paris humilié ! pic.twitter.com/vv7fzZWC62

— Printemps Français (@nelachonsrien) October 16, 2014

Twitter also burst with outrageous remarks about the ‘sex toy Christmas Tree.’

"A giant 24-metre tall butt plug has just been set up at Place Vendôme! Place Vendôme disfigured! Paris humiliated!" wrote the Printemps Français, a right-wing pressure group.

Paul McCarthy's XXXmas Tree Plugs Up Paris - http://t.co/beuZNobLJ1

— hyperallergic (@hyperallergic) October 18, 2014

In the meantime, the organizers of the festival said they had received a green light from the city authorities.

“This work received all the necessary authorizations: the Prefecture de Police, Paris Town Hall, the Ministry of Culture and the Comité Vendôme, which represents the business owners on the square,”FIAC Artistic Director Jennifer Flay told Le Monde. “What’s art good for if not to disturb, raise questions, to reveal the weaknesses in society?”

Sorry Paris town planners but I'm not seeing a Christmas tree. pic.twitter.com/wDeMBFsEc1

— You had one job (@_youhadonejob) October 16, 2014

To those giggling at the fact the Paris Christmas tree looks like a buttplug, I suggest googling the artists work (Paul McCarthy).

— Huw Lemmey (@spitzenprodukte) October 17, 2014

On Saturday, however, it was reported that somebody tried to deflate the inflammable sculpture cutting the cables the "Tree" was kept in place with. It was left slumped on the pavement.

"Individuals waited until the security guard's attention was elsewhere and cut the cable that kept the sculpture in place," a police source told AFP. “The inflated work slumped down."

Police said they will resurrect the ‘Tree’ as soon as possible.

The controversial, inflatable sculpture "Tree" by US artist Paul McCarthy sits deflated on the Vendome square in the center of Paris on October 18, 2014 after people sectionned overnight the cables securing it to the ground and tampered with the pump keeping it inflated. (AFP Photo / Martin Bureau)


McCarthy's Tree a wee bit too ballsy for some; apparently a gang untethered it last night, not even 48 hrs after installation. But Art does not accept defeat; already in process of re-inflation. Power to the plug!

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The Tree sculpture in Paris is not the only controversial work by McCarthy. In 2001, he created 'Santa Claus' for the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, which was called by the town residents as a 'Butt Plug Gnome'.

In 2009, in an exhibition called "White Snow", he featured Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in sexual situations.

A journalist takes photos of a sculpture by US artist Paul McCarthy titled "Complex Pile" during a press preview of the Mobile M+: Inflation! exhibition in Hong Kong on April 24, 2013. (AFP Photo / Laurent Fievet)