Paul McCarthy‘s “Santa Claus,” an enormous bronze sculpture of St. Nick holding an even more enormous butt-plug, has been on permanent display in Rotterdam since 2008 as part of the city’s Sculpture International Rotterdam collection, and has earned the nickname “Kabouter Buttplug” (or “Buttplug Gnome”) from the locals. As millions across the globe celebrate the annual delivery of gifts by the bearded resident of the North Pole, we thought this would be an opportune moment to revisit two memorable episodes in the life of “Kabouter Buttplug.”
On November 28, 2008, McCarthy’s sculpture was moved from its temporary location at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen to its new home on Eendrachtsplein, with accompaniment from a marching band and a parade of children in Christmas hats and dunce caps, as you can see in the blurry video below.
In June of 2009, apparently concerned that the eye-catching sculpture had lost its edge, students in a Creative Marketing class at Hogeschool Rotterdam staged a bit of viral marketing for the inanimate artwork, sending a faux-buttplug brandishing man in a Santa costume through the city streets.
We sincerely hope you are not visited by the “Kabouter Buttplug” this holiday season — unless, of course, you’re into that.
— Benjamin Sutton (@bhsutton)