Here’s a fine time to talk about how we view art. How many people see a Christmas tree and how many of you see…well, you know.
US artist Paul McCarthy drew outrage from some Parisans’ when his 80 ft high installation erected at the famed landmark, Place Vendome was said to ‘vaguely’ resemble a Christmas Tree.
The inflatable green sculpture, Tree was part of FIAC (International Contemporary Art Fair), who gave the artist carte blanche to create a piece for the square as part of it’s ‘Beyond The Walls’ program. Seems like they may have wanted to preview this one.
Shortly after its erection, came reports of vandals efforts to sabotage the piece by cutting the support cables, and tampering with the fans that allowed it to inflate properly. The artist even reported being struck in the face by several angry bystanders. By Saturday evening, McCarthy agreed with the decision bring Tree down permanently.
McCarthy talked with French magazine, LeMonde on Friday, admitting that some of the inspiration for the installation was derived from a joke about a sex toy. “It all started with a joke. Originally, I thought that a butt plug had a shape similar to the sculptures of Constantin Brâncusi. Afterwards, I realized that it looked like a Christmas tree,” McCarthy said.
“People can be offended if they want to think of it as a plug, but for me it is more of an abstraction.” (thanks Google Translator)
Lets’s face it…this is McCarthy’s style, less we forget his landing a giant pile of inflatable poop on the lawn in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon district during the outdoor art project “Mobile M+: Inflation! or his 2011 ‘Santa’ sculpture in the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, which held that suspicious looking ‘tree’.
Meanwhile he’s got a new show coming up in Paris, Chocolate Factory, opening on October 25th at the CCC. I’m guessing that’s going to be the site of the next McCarthy controversy.
(AP Photos/Francois Mori,European Press Photo Agency )