Paul McCarthy’s 80-foot inflatable lime green sculpture–which the artist describes as a tree, but critics have referred to as a sex toy–has been the source of continued controversy since its installation (and subsequent deflation) last week at the Place Vendôme in Paris. The artist, however, is not going quietly.
A press preview of McCarthy’s upcoming “Chocolate Factory” show at the August Paris Mint was pushed back by a day on account of McCarthy’s desire to respond to the violence directed at him, which includes incidents wherein the artist was slapped multiple times by an angry Parisian man and called a “dirty American” whose “work is degenerate.”
Paris Mint spokesman Guillaume Robic stated that McCarthy has decided to install a bed in the newly renovated space, complete with video of his hand writing frantically and an audio recording of sounds including his voice shouting the very insults that had been thrown his way on the Place Vendôme, The New York Times reports.
Additional controversy surrounding the work has manifested itself on social media and through conservative Catholic channels, but French President François Hollande has publicly defended the work as a symbol of artistic freedom. Paris Mint’s Robic went on to state that, “Mr. McCarthy was sad and shocked by the violent reaction to his tree sculpture, but he is excited for his new exhibit, which will be a cross between a dream and a nightmare.”