March 2009


We have winners! Ian and Jul!

Seen in Rotterdam!

Seen in Rotterdam!

Ultimately I decided upon two Photo Contest winners: Ian in Hamburg for his “clean” responses of “Christmas Tree” and “Buttplug”, and Jul for the more accurate responses of “Buttplug” and “Buttplug.”

After taking the photo, I sent a link of it to one of my Dutch friends who doesn’t live in the Netherlands right now, and he wrote back to me:

haha its the controversial butplugg gnome. After they purchased it they banned it to a small corner near the booimans museum entry where only art lovers would notice ^^ i guess they found the courage to put it back in the open about half a year ago…..

Naturally I was a bit suspicious that his answer was the one I wanted to hear—and, of course, he knows me. So I took my laptop down to the hotel’s front desk and asked the clerk on duty what was in Santa’s hand. He turned red and stammered out that it was a buttplug.

Naturally that didn’t satisfy my hunger for talking about Santa with a Buttplug, so at the office I showed it to my colleagues, who all laughed and then talked about it.

Help Yourself -- only 40€!

Help Yourself -- only 40€!

Honestly I’ve seen a lot of weird things in The Netherlands—it’s a great country, but this was the first thing in years that brought me to a complete stop. It is fantastic that this country has no shame—they are willing to put Santa holding an enormous buttplug right in the middle of town—right where tourists and children alike can gawk at the statue and ask, “What is Santa holding?”

The artist is one Paul McCarthy, a, in my book, slightly nuts artist based out of LA (born in Utah). He has a thing for Santa and Buttplugs. Apparently he had a gallery show in New York City that was a functioning chocolate shop—selling molded Santas holding a buttplug. Cost: $100. He sold 1,600—and has 12,000 in storage. Nothing tastes or looks better than stored chocolate!

Meanwhile there has been a slight hitch in the delivery of the prize to Ian and Jul – I bought the postcards and wrote them—but when I went to the post office near my hotel, I discovered it was closed—and not “closed because its Saturday morning at 11am closed”, but “closed and the entire interior is ripped out closed”. I inquired – my local friend didn’t know it had closed and the staff at the local supermarket told me where I could find one—a 50 minute walk away. I suspect they will get postcards from The Netherlands—just mailed from Germany.

Randomly, I might note that one of Paul McCathy’s works was a giant inflatable dog turd in Switzerland that escaped its moorings and wreaked havoc on the Swiss electrical system. Perhaps it’s why Jul moved to Munich.

6 comments to We have winners! Ian and Jul!