Ooh la la, what does this look like to you?
A giant green inflatable sculpture by contemporary U.S. artist Paul McCarthy was erected at the Place Vendome in Paris earlier this week. The 80-foot installation attracted scores of observors, showcasing very curious looks, a slew of jokes on social media, including the hashtag #PlugGate, and condemnation by French conservative group Printemps Français (French Spring).
"Place Vendome disfigured, Paris humiliated!," French TV station France 24 quoted the organization as saying.
McCarthy, 69, had told the French newspaper Le Monde that the sculpture, titled "Tree," was an "abstract work" rooted in a joke about a sex toy and was also inspired by a Christmas tree. He said that when he went to see it, a man slapped him three times, shouting that he was not French and that his work had "no business being on the square," and then ran away, according to BBC News.
The installation was attrached to an air pump and held upright by straps. It was to be part of the 41st edition of the FIAC Art Fair, which runs from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26.
But alas, it will not, as vandals deflated it early on Saturday.
They climbed a metal fence around the exhibit, then cut the power supply to the pump and severed one of its straps, the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph quoted police as saying. McCarthy said he did not want the sculpture re-erected, the outlet added.
"Shame and humiliation for France—not the temporary inflatable artwork on the Place Vendome, but the fools who have degraded it," Paris's deputy mayor Bruno Julliard tweeted. "Paris will not give in to intolerance and hatred. We will always defend the freedom of creation."
McCarthy has created controversial works of art before. In 2011, he created sexually explicit sculpures of former U.S. President George W. Bush, which were displayed in London.