Carolina Falkholt's artwork in New York City.
Carolina Falkholt's artwork in New York City.

‘Very offensive’ giant penis covered up

THE artist who painted a 4-storey-tall penis on a New York building is crying censorship because it was painted over.

"The pieces were commissioned by [Lower East Side art group] The New Allen," Swedish artist Carolina Falkholt told The New York Post through a Facebook message after her mural was covered up in grey paint by the building's owner.

"As a trained graffiti writer I am used to my work being censored in different contexts."

She painted the 13-metre-tall member on the side of 303 Broome St on Christmas Eve.

It grossed out neighbours for three days before it was taken down on Wednesday evening.

Building owner Samy Mahfar of SMA Equities said Thursday that he never sanctioned the painting.

"Absolutely not," said Mahfar, adding he never had contact with Falkholt. "None. Zero. Absolutely not."

Someone from the neighbourhood sent him a message alerting him about it December 26 - more than a day after it had been completed, he said.

"I was shocked. It's not good," Mahfar continued. "We are very conscious of the neighbourhood we do business in. It was just not the right thing, so we covered it as soon as possible. To be honest, I was extremely offended. It was very offensive.

"We woke up the day after Christmas and someone emailed me that this happened and … right away we got someone as quickly as possible to cover it up," Mahfar, who said he is out of town but declined to say where, told The Post by phone.

Mahfar said he is "talking" with police. And cops are considering felony criminal-mischief charges, a high-ranking NYPD source said.

The New Allen co-founder Milan Kelez told art blog Hyper Allergic that the work was a collaboration with The New Museum for its ongoing exhibition, "Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon" - but the museum told the blog it has no affiliation with the giant penis mural.

Kelez did not say whether Mahfar OK'd the masterpiece, and he did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Post.

Falkholt said she was trying to promote body positivity and argued "Talking about these subjects in public space is a must for a healthy, nonviolent community/world."


This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished here with permission.