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FRANCE - ART

US artist erects giant green ‘butt plug’ in Paris

Bertrand Guay/AFP - Paul McCarthy's 'Tree' installation in central Paris
2 min

It’s supposed to resemble a Christmas tree – but for many in Paris a giant green inflatable object currently decorating Paris’s up-market Place Vendome is little more than an anal plug of eye-watering proportions.

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US artist Paul McCarthy, the brainchild behind the 80-foot installation called “Tree”, which was fully approved by city authorities before it went up ahead of the FIAC international art festival which begins next week, has caused some upset.

McCarthy was even slapped in the face by one passer-by as the artwork was unveiled on Thursday.

Meanwhile French conservative group Printemps Français (French Spring) took to Twitter to denounce the object as a “humiliation” for Paris.

“A giant 24-metre butt plug has been erected at Place Vendome,” the group tweeted. “Place Vendome disfigured, Paris humiliated!”

McCarthy, 69, told Le Monde on Friday that his artwork was indeed a Christmas tree, and admitted that a certain amount of lateral thinking was required to see a link between his sculpture and the festive season.

“Originally, I thought that a butt plug had a shape similar to the sculptures of [Romanian artist] Constantin Brâncusi. Afterwards, I realised that it looked like a Christmas tree,” the artist told the newspaper. “People can be offended if they want to think of it as a plug, but for me it is more of an abstraction.”

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