PARIS — Artist Paul McCarthy has installed a 24-foot inflatable butt plug in Paris’ historic square, Place Vendome.
Misleadingly titled “Tree” — it is green, but McCarthy is a known trickster, especially with regard to linguistic sleight-of-hands — the butt plug is adjacent to a 19th century column commemorating Napoleon’s glory in the battle of Austerlitz.
Tree was installed as part of the city’s annual art fair, FIAC, and will remain there until November.
McCarthy pulled a similar obvious fast-one in Hong Hong, where he installed an inflatable poop and titled it “Complex Pile.” He left his mark in Rotterdam with a statue of a gnome holding a butt plug, titled “Santa Claus.”
“The sculpture is accompanied by a gallery where the visitor is welcomed by a forest of similarly suspiciously-shaped Christmas trees, culminating in a room full of chocolate figurines, including some of Santa holding — perhaps unsurprisingly — the same sexually suggestive symbol,” the DailyMail reports.
An anti-gay group called Printemps Francais has protested McCarthy’s Tree. The group tweeted its dissent, “Place Vendome disfugred! Paris humiliated!”
McCarthy was even punched several times in the face in broad daylight by someone less than pleased by his public sculpture.
The unknown assailant apparently approached McCarthy at 2 p.m., after Tree was fully installed, screaming that the piece did not belong in Place Vendome and subsequently punching him at least three times.
UPDATE: Vandals deflated the butt plug sculpture over the weekend. McCarthy says he does not plan to revive the sculpture.