It certainly got people’s attention, a very detailed four-story penis reaching into the Manhattan skyline along the side of a building. This wasn’t a street artist who did a hit and run job, it was commissioned by a local street art foundation and painted by Carolina Falkhot, who is a Swedish artist.
This giant penis was a companion piece to a previous art installment a few blocks away in the Lower East Side. A giant vagina sits on the side of a building further up on Pike Street, which was painted by the same artist, according to the Guardian. You probably wouldn’t know that the vagina painting is a vagina as it is more abstract and it looks more like a modern art piece than it does a woman’s undercarriage.
The same could not be said for the penis — there was no mistaking what this painting depicted; it was so graphically correct that it almost looked like a photograph. The vagina painting, which is intricately painted in its purple and pink hues, isn’t considered offensive to the neighbors, unlike its companion piece that lasted only a few days before it was painted over.
The penis went up Christmas Eve, Sunday night, and it was painted over on Wednesday. You can see the picture of the vagina below and decide for yourself if that is the first thing that comes to mind when laying eyes on this piece of artwork.
The color scheme was similar for both the male and female depictions in Falkholt’s murals. This artist’s work is stunning in color, but critiques over the subject matter differ greatly. This is a huge leap from the street art of yesteryear.
You can see the penis mural in question among some of Carolina Falkholt’s artwork here on her Instagram page.
When the Guardian recently spoke with Falkhot she said her work was often created with a message of “not feeling ashamed of your body and who you are as a sexual being.” She said she usually paints vaginas, but the words she used for this part of a woman’s anatomy were inappropriate to repeat in this article.
Breitbart News used a play on words in their article title describing the giant penis mural, “It Went Up Then Down, Giant Penis In New York Has No Staying Power.” Breitbart, along with other publications, also used the word “erect” in descriptions of the giant phallus overtaking the side of a building on the Lower East Side.
Once the penis went up on Broome Street, opinions were mixed, according to the Guardian. The owner of a neighborhood laundry said that the mural made “residents uncomfortable.” He also said, “We don’t like it and we hope they take it down.” Others saw it as a colorful addition to the neighborhood in the form of street art.
The mural was brought to the attention of the NYC Building Department and they sent out an inspector to take pictures of the mural. The unidentified inspector said the photos would be going to his superiors who in turn would make the decision on whether it came down or not. That didn’t need to happen as the mural was ordered painted over by the building’s landlord, which took place Wednesday.