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Giant inflatable 'sex toy' sculpture in Paris is meant to be a Christmas tree

Paul McCarthy's artwork has made some passers-by uncomfortable

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 18 October 2014 12:47 BST
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Paul McCarthy's inflatable sculpture of a Christmas tree is displayed on the Place Vendome in Paris
Paul McCarthy's inflatable sculpture of a Christmas tree is displayed on the Place Vendome in Paris (Getty Images)

This inflatable “Christmas tree” erected in Paris is making passers-by feel a little uncomfortable.

The 80ft-high object is raising eyebrows because of its uncanny resemblance to a sex toy, but is actually an installation by American artist Paul McCarthy.

Simply called “Tree”, it is towering over the Place Vendome as part of a contemporary art fair.

McCarthy, who is no stranger to controversy, designed the piece specifically for the “Fiac” festival but it has not been taken well by some critics.

Printemps Francais, a far-right group that opposes gay marriage, has been complaining on Twitter.

It is one of McCarthy’s many Christmas-themed works, including a controversial “Santa Claus” intended for Rotterdam in 2001.

It was never placed next to a concert hall as planned because of arguments about another suggestive Christmas tree that earned the statue the nickname “butt plug gnome”.

He also created a giant inflatable installation depicting excrement in Hong Kong last year and in 2011, an exhibition of his work in London included a pair of animatronic George W Bush sculptures having sex with pigs.

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