American artist Paul McCarthy’s sculpture Tree, which was placed in Paris’s Place Vendôme last week, has been deflated by vandals.
The 24-metre art piece deflated after an “unidentified group” cut the cords that kept it erect.
“An unidentified group of people cut the cables which were holding the artwork, which caused it to collapse,” police told Reuters. “The person responsible for the piece then decided to deflate it to avoid it being more seriously damaged.”
McCarthy is known for his controversial art but wasn’t prepared for the backlash to Tree, which French paper Le Monde claimed included one man slapping the artist across the face three times on the street before running off. The incident caused the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, to release a statement in support of McCarthy.
“Paris will not succumb to the threats of those who, by attacking an artist or a work, are attacking artistic freedom,” she said. “Art has its place in our streets and nobody will be able to chase it away.”
There are plans to replace the installation as soon as possible.