The sculpture entitled ‘Tree’ by US artist Paul McCarthy is on display at the Place Vendome in Paris, France – it is massive, green, inflatable sculpture on the famous Paris square and has raised a storm for its resemblance to a sex toy, with the artist even being attacked in the street; after being slapped by an irate Parisian.
The artist admitted that his work had been inspired both by a sex toy and a Christmas tree – telling this to French newspaper Le Monde
When McCarthy went to view the work on display at Place Vendome, a man slapped his face before running away, the paper confirms. The stranger, apparently slapped the artist three times, then shouted that he was not French and that his work had “no business being on the square”, the paper writes. McCarthy was unhurt but left shocked and disturbed by the attack, the artist asked: “Does this kind of thing happen often in France?”
But Social media has been far more concerned with the opportunity of humour in referencing the famous US artist’s work – crackling with jokes about the 24m (79ft) inflatable of questionable shape.
McCarthy, 69, is not new to shocking his viewers, the artist’s previous installations have shocked in the Netherlands and Switzerland, told Le Monde in an interview in French that Tree was an “abstract work” rooted in a joke about a sex toy. But Bloggers and social media users saw the installation of the public art piece as an affront to France – and the work was widely condemned.
Indignant comments about Tree itself included “Place Vendome defaced!” and “Paris humiliated!” Another wrote “You have to be really dumb to attack the artist Paul McCarthy for his work on Place Vendome, whether you like it or not”.