A message to Paris: Paul McCarthy’s butt plugs can be deflated, but they will not be defeated.
Just one week after Paul McCarthy’s 24-meter-tall Place Vendôme installation Tree (2014) was deflated by vandals enraged by its clear resemblance to an anal plug, the artist’s “Chocolate Factory” is set to open this Saturday as the inaugural exhibition of the newly reopened Monnaie de Paris, the city’s 1,150-year-old mint undergoing an ongoing architectural overhaul as a new commercial destination. With even more sex toys—plus the last-minute addition of a vile, immersive response to his detractors—it will at first delight and amuse, then likely confuse and disgust. After delaying the press preview by a day so Mr. McCarthy could add to his vision the fresh rage he felt after a strong backlash by Parisians, the Monnaie de Paris allowed select visitors entry to the exhibition. Here is The Observer’s first-hand account of Mr. McCarthy’s chocolate anal wonderland:
At the top of the Paris Mint’s grand staircase, large-scale inflatable phallic “christmas trees” greet visitors to Mr. McCarthy’s chocolate factory. A pair of blond-wigged chocolatiers delight audiences as they fill molds shaped like butt plugs, and garden gnomes hop around toting dildos spewing molten chocolate. It’s a mini factory erected under the splendor of the Salle Guillaume Dupré’s 18th century chandelier, the sweets surrounded by opulent Baroque décor.
But butt plugs and dildo gnomes are pretty innocuous compared to what you see when you pass through either set of double doors in the back of the room.