The current dust-up around Paul McCarthy’s immense green ‘sex toy’ sculpture in Paris has divided opinion with either anger or fits of giggles being the resulting response, the giant inflatable sculpture that was reduced to a flaccid pile on one of Paris’s swankiest squares after vandals attacked the work has been reported as being permanently removed by the artist.
The sculpture entitled ‘Tree’ was on display at the Place Vendome in Paris, France – it was a massive, green, inflatable sculpture on the famous Paris square and had raised a storm for its resemblance to a sex toy – the artist was even attacked in the street; after being slapped by an irate Parisian.
A man actually attacked the artist; The stranger, apparently slapped the McCarthy three times, then shouted that he was not French and that his work had “no business being on the square”.
The 69-year-old contemporary artist is known for his controversial works, but was left shocked and disturbed by the attack, asking: “Does this kind of thing happen often in France?”
Feelings about 80-foot-tall sex toy has indeed been varied with many taking it as an insult to all things parisian – but racing to the rescue of the embattled artist is the International Association of Art Critics . The French chapter of AICA is rallying to McCarthy’s cause, and will be organising a righteous flash mob on October 24th show support for the work, and to defend liberal values against anti ‘sex toy’ sentiment in Paris.
The critics will rally to make the statement of “the right to freedom of expression and creation, and to protest against the attacks on the artist Paul McCarthy and his work. France does not have to yield to the threats of those who, by attacking an artist or a work, attack artistic freedom.” – according to the website Paris Art.
The fervent protest over the artist’s work has grown so loud that even the French president weighed in on the matter, Stating that “France will always be on the side of artists, just as I am on the side of Paul McCarthy, whose work was sullied, no matter what one’s opinion of the piece may have been,” said François Hollande while at the opening of Paris’s Fondation Louis Vuitton, reported by Agence France Presse; it continued, “We must always respect the work of artists … France is always ready to welcome artists and creatives coming from every country in the world.”
The flash mob will correspond with the FIAC art fair’s second day. Look for a gang of people – fashionably dressed with worn shoes – they will probably be critics – at the corner of rue de la Paix and rue Danielle Casanova at 1 pm, on Friday.