You walk around in Paris and you suddenly stumble upon a giant butt plug. You cannot help but say, ‘Oh what’s that over there? Already in October?’
But is it really a Christmas Tree or indeed a giant buttplug?
It all might sound funny but when artist Paul McCarthy was installing his contribution to FIAC’s “Hors Les Murs” program at Place Vendôme titled Tree (2014), an unknown assailant accosted him, allegedly screaming that his sculpture did not belong on the Place Vendôme before hitting him in the face at least three times. He was apparently additionally upset by the fact that McCarthy is not French.
Anti-gay group Printemps Francais also attacked the tree because of its alleged similarity to the sex toy popular with some gay men.
In an interview McCarthy told Le Monde that the sculpture started as a joke and that he originally thought that butt plugs have a similar shape to a Brancusi sculpture. Later, he realized that, in green, the form also resembled a Christmas tree, “but it is an abstract work,” McCarthy contends. “People may be offended if they want to refer to [it as a] plug, but, for me, it is more of an abstraction.”