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Paul McCarthy is back with naughty 'Chocolate Factory' in France

Paul McCarthy is back with naughty 'Chocolate Factory' in France
Artist Paul McCarthy's chocolate effigies of "Santa With Tree" are stacked on shelves at the artist's exhibition "Chocolate Factory" at La Monnaie de Paris. (Etienne Laurent / EPA)

Following the recent vandalism of his inflatable sculpture "Tree" in Paris, Los Angeles artist Paul McCarthy rebounded over the weekend with the opening of a Christmas-themed exhibition featuring his signature brand of humorously racy creations.

"Chocolate Factory," running through Jan. 4 at La Monnaie de Paris in France, is a quasi-remounting of McCarthy's 2007 installation at the Maccarone gallery in New York that featured a working confectionery factory producing chocolate figurines of the artist's work.

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Naughty or nice? For the new exhibition, McCarthy has created a production line for chocolate goodies that have been molded into the shape of Santa Claus holding a tree -- or a sex toy, depending on the viewer's imagination. (The chocolates are based on a previous work by McCarthy.)

Visitors are able to see workers produce the chocolate figurines and can even purchase them at the front desk and bookstore.

In addition, the exhibition is producing miniature chocolate versions of McCarthy's "Tree," which resembles a Christmas tree as well as a sex toy. The original "Tree" drew worldwide media attention earlier this month when the large-scale public installation was unveiled in Paris.

McCarthy was reportedly assaulted near the installation before a vandal deflated the giant artwork.

Visitors to the new exhibition will also experience a grove of large inflatable sculptures created by McCarthy that occupy La Monnaie's grand staircase, as well as a site-specific video work.

On its official website, La Monnaie explained the significance of McCarthy's chocolate factory occupying a building that is famous in France for minting coins. "These ephemeral objects are churned out in an absurd performance in pursuit of a non-viable economy," the institution said on the site.

McCarthy has made French headlines in recent days with the new exhibition as well as the controversy over his "Tree" installation.

French President François Hollande has weighed in on the debate, telling the Agence France-Presse last week that "France will always be on the side of artists, just as I am on Paul McCarthy's side."

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT

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