Earlier this week, residents in the middle of Stockholm, Sweden were greeted with a giant blue penis painted on the side of a 5-story-high building. The mural, titled "Fuck the World," was meant to stay up for six months, painted by artist Carolina Falkholt on a wall meant for graffiti artists who have permission to paint whatever they want. But because of a local public reaction that's been both angry and repulsed, her painting's days are numbered to less than a week.
Falkholt, "one of Sweden's most renowned graffiti artists," told The Local that phallophobes "should consider what it is they are so upset about and then talk about it…Sex is so important, but it's always been too dirty to discuss."
According to The Guardian:
The company that owns the block, Atrium Ljungberg, told Aftonbladet it had seen the work by the artist Carolina Falkholt for the first time on Wednesday morning – along with other residents of the Swedish capital's central Kungsholmen island.
"Culture and art are important in developing interesting urban environments," Camilla Klimt, the company's marketing manager, told the paper. "Of course, we care about artistic freedom. But at the same time, we must respect neighbours' opinions."
Klimt said the work would stay up for a short while so everyone interested could experience it. Although some people had welcomed the penis as an "important part of the debate about sexuality, body and gender", others – especially neighbours – had "received it less well and perceived it as offensive", she said.
This isn't Falkholt's first controversial penis painting. According to The Local:
Falkholt caused uproar in New York in December when she painted a similar giant erection — this time in pink, orange and red — on a wall in Manhattan's Lower East Side.
That painting was erased after only a few days, rather than the three weeks intended, following heavy media coverage and vociferous complaints from residents.
"I usually paint giant vaginas, pussies and cunts," Falkholt told The Guardian newspaper in December. "And since I had just finished one on the side of a five-storey building, I felt like a dick was needed. The wall space on Broome was a perfect fit for it. To paraphrase [the artist] Judith Bernstein, if a dick can go into a woman, it can go up on a wall."