A giant inflatable tree in Paris is causing controversy because some people think it does not look like a tree, that in fact, as Uproxx delicately puts it, “it looks more like what consenting men and ladies insert into their buttholes for a fun, sexy time.” The piece in Place Vendome, simply called ‘Tree’, is by contemporary artist Paul McCarthy, and was commissioned for the Fiac festival.
The piece has been a source of much controversy in the French capital. The Independent reports “Printemps Francais, a far-right group that opposes gay marriage, has been complaining on Twitter. ‘Taxpayers – this is where your money goes!’ said one post, while another claimed the Place Vendome had been ‘disfigured’ and Paris ‘humiliated.'” On Saturday the tree was deflated after vandals cut the cables holding it up. Paul McCarthy, meanwhile, was physically assaulted for his work. “One man was so incensed that he slapped McCarthy three times in the face, yelling that he was not French and that his work had no business in the square, before running off,” reported the Guardian. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, denounced the attack. “Paris will not succumb to the threats of those who, by attacking an artist or a work, are attacking artistic freedom. Art has its place in our streets and nobody will be able to chase it away.” What do you think? Is it a tree? Or is it, ahem, something else.