Giant inflatable Christmas Tree looks more like a 'sex toy'
UPDATE: The Guardian is reporting that vandals have attacked and deflated the installation.
EARLIER: 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.
"Taxpayers - this is where your money goes!" said one post, while another claimed the Place Vendome had been "disfigured" and Paris "humiliated".
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.