Paul McCarthy “Tree” / deflated
On October 16, 2014, this 80-ft work was torn down and ultimately deflated after a short but controversial installation in Paris' Place Vendôme.
The piece, which had been installed as part of the FIAC art festival, was supposedly intended to represent a Christmas tree (according to McCarthy) but had caused outrage among many Parisians - most visibly, the French conservative group Printemps Français (“A giant 24-metre butt plug has been erected at Place Vendome,” the group tweeted. “Place Vendome disfigured, Paris humiliated!”) - due to its apparent resemblance to an anal plug sex toy, prompting calls for city authorities to remove it. Feelings were so strong that McCarthy was actually slapped in the face three times by passers-by as the artwork was being unveiled.
After a short stint on display, unidentified perpetrators took matters into their own hands, cutting the cords that held the work upright. Once fallen, FIAC decided to deflate and remove the work without intentions of re-installing it.