Tree, an artwork by 69-year-old artist Paul McCarthy, was installed earlier this week in the Place Vendôme, where it quickly drew stares and ire from locals for its butt plug-like shape.
This is not McCarthy's first inflatable work, nor his only butt-plug art. He's made massive piles of poop and balloon dogs resembling Jeff Koons' iconic works. In New York in 2012, McCarthy's Daddies Ketchup was installed in front of City Hall as part of Public Art Fund's "Common Ground" exhibition.
But, vandals in Paris weren't having any of McCarthy's aggressively ribald humor. On Friday, they cut the lines holding the Tree sculpture in place, forcing it to topple on its side. Organizers of the exhibition then decided to deflate it out of concern that it would become damaged.
The Guardian reported that a man "slapped McCarthy three times in the face, yelling that he was not French and that his work had no business in the square." Could he have been the culprit? Unknown.
In any case, the FIAC contemporary art fair plans to reinflate the sculpture as soon as possible. Hopefully Paris will be ready for round two. (The Guardian)