This week in art news, Parisians are up in arms over an foot "butt plug" imagined by the art world's ultimate enfant terrible , Paul McCarthy. Of course, the massive sculpture isn't technically a butt plug. Yet despite all the seemingly obvious signs -- it's art, McCarthy's an artist, FIAC is an art fair -- the inflatable masterpiece is attracting attention not for its aesthetic uniqueness but for its resemblance to sex toys. In fact, France's far-right is not convinced the meter high plant is an objet d'art at all. Paris is humiliated! Recently, the hashtag PlugGate has appeared on social media.
Paul McCarthy 'butt plug' sculpture in Paris provokes rightwing backlash
This Foot 'Butt Plug' In Paris Isn't A Giant Sex Toy, It's A Paul McCarthy Sculpture | HuffPost
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This 80-Foot 'Butt Plug' In Paris Isn't A Giant Sex Toy, It's A Paul McCarthy Sculpture
The inflatable artwork is intended to represent a Christmas tree, according to McCarthy, but has caused outrage among some due to its resemblance to an anal plug sex toy, prompting calls for city authorities to remove it. Feeling has been so strong that McCarthy, 69, has said he was slapped three times in the face by a passer-by as the artwork was unveiled. Some angry Paris residents now seem to have taken matters into their own hands, with photos posted on Twitter overnight Friday showing the installation lying on its side and looking limp and deflated after apparently being vandalised. French journalist Renaud Pila tweeted that the FIAC took the decision to deflate the artwork after a number of saboteurs cut the cords holding it up. The art festival later announced that McCarthy had decided against reinflating the piece as "the artist was worried about potential trouble if the work was put back up".
Paris has no shortage of towering columns that amateur psychologists like to view in sexual terms. Yet less than a day after its installation it was gone — a victim of the conservative populist backlash that has upended French politics over the past year. Tree, as the sculpture was euphemistically titled, had received the approval of all the relevant organisations overseeing public art installations, from the Paris city government to the neighbourhood business association.