Toppled Giant Green Plastic ‘Artwork’ Droops in Defeat on Chic Place Vendôme

A 24-metre high, green, plastic inflatable butt-plug, described as a “Tree” by its controversial Californian creator Paul McCarthy – was toppled and deflated Friday night hours after its contested erection on the chic Place Vendôme in central Paris.

Deflated and defeated the controversial punctured Vendome buttplug  (Credit: Twitter)

Deflated and defeated the controversial punctured Vendome buttplug (Credit: Twitter)

The temporary art installation was set up ahead of the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) scheduled to run October 23-26 in Paris but provoked a public outcry and much social media consternation.

Criticising those who capsized the offending inflatable, Bruno Julliard deputy mayor in charge of culture in Paris, tweeted: “It was not this work of art that shamed France rather it is the imbeciles that have vandalised it.”

A police source told the conservative newspaper Figaro: “unidentified persons cut the cables supporting the sculpture, after having distracted the security detail. The inflatable collapsed and those in charge then deflated it. Investigations are under way”.

Deploring the vandalism Rue 89 a leftwing online newspaper said: “The ‘tree’ by Paul McCarthy, a recognised artist visiting France for his first major exhibition here, will make Paris the world capital of art for a few days and attract thousands of visitors”.

Reacting to the apparent proctologic dysfunction affecting the work Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted: “Art has its place in the streets of Paris and nobody can stop that”. However comment on the Rue 89 news report was sharply divided over what constitutes modern art (a question many others will sympathise with).

One commenter called the Vendôme work: “capitalist art produced by kindergarten babies, an imposition of mandatory narcissistic crap. The real scandal is that the city of Paris gave its approval and provided personnel to install this thing”.  

Another criticised the vandals and blamed the toppling on “our mad Catholic Taliban”; while a third suggested, “the real violence was to impose this turd on innocent bystanders. How is this a work of art?”  

The media was quick to point out that the installation had been authorised by the Prefecture de Police, Paris City Hall, the Ministry of Culture and the Comité Vendôme representing the business owners on the square. Vendôme is famous for its extremely expensive high-class jewellery shops.

Reaction to the controversial work can be seen in this clip:  

In the darker corners of the Internet the original work was being seen as a provocation by the Socialist mayor of Paris and even perhaps by the widely-disliked Justice Minister Christiane Taubira whose ministry stands on the square. 

Place Vendôme has been the site of vigils by handfuls of sentinelles opposed to the same-sex marriage bill piloted through parliament on 18 May 2013 by the Justice Minister. Ever since she has been silently shadowed by sentinelles where ever she has appeared in public around the country.  

Those who see conspiracy were quick to call the giant butt plug a sort of two-fingered gesture of abuse, or revenge by Socialists in government outraged at the ongoing conservative opposition to same-sex marriage.

Earlier while supervising the installation, the artist was reportedly slapped across the face and called ‘un-French’ by a passerby clearly riled by a work that opponents called a giant sex toy. The 69-year-old McCarthy was unhurt and the violence was widely denounced on Twitter.

Here is the video clip showing the installation taking place:

Below are other tweets culled from the stream found at #Vendôme:

Meanwhile only a few hours after the deflated butt-plug was cleared from the site a (spoof?) twitter thread #BringBackOurPlug was launched in support of the removed erection.

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