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“West Auckland’s finest #PubicArt #NewLynn #Auckland” (photo by chrisyongnet/Instagram)

A new piece of public art in Auckland, part of which, when seen from a certain angle, resembles a penis, is rubbing locals the wrong way. Though the artwork, a four-part sculptural installation and mosaic titled “Transit Cloud” by the artists Gregor Kregar and Sara Hughes and the architect Davor Popadich, won’t be completely up and running until later this week, locals are already weighing in on its suggestive forms.

“What the hell is that? It’s certainly not a cloud. It looks like a penis,” Auckland resident Joy Dale told the New Zealand Herald. Chiming in on Instagram, @emsoncharlottexo quipped: “What a dick of an artist. People of New Lynn, Auckland have been blessed with this ‘cloud’ sculpture. #itsalaugh #art #lookslikeapenistome.”

The installation is situated in a pedestrian lane that links a cluster of new buildings in the western Auckland suburb of New Lynn, including bus and train stations, the local library, and a shopping mall.

A rendering of View of Gregor Kregar, Sara Hughes, and Davor Popadich’s “Transit Cloud” installation (photo courtesy the artists) (click to enlarge)

“It was our intention that the work would be completed during the construction of the buildings and it would be revealed to the public in a completed state,” Kregar told Hyperallergic via email. “The work got delayed, stopped and started many times which meant that we were forced to install it in stages (after the buildings were completed) and the public could start reacting before it was finished. Therefore aspects of the work have been taken out of context and there has been a lot of attention to one view of one of the forms.”

The sculptures were made from thousands of cut aluminum rods and over 650 feet of neon flex lighting, while a complimentary mosaic of porcelain tiles on the ground beneath the suspended clouds required the artists to drill some 30,000 holes into the concrete walkway. The project was funded through a NZ $160,000 (~$118,500) contract from Auckland Council.

“We feel that we delivered extremely good value for money, this project was definitely not about profit, we live nearby and wanted to give something spectacular to the community that we live in,” added Kregar, who has created many abstract sculptures and installations inspired by clouds in the past. “Clouds are part of our environment, they are extremely beautiful forms that we usually don’t even notice (with our heads down racing about our busy lives). To me they are like complex flying structures that are in constant state of flux, they travel, change, and transform all the time.”

Cloud shape interpretation is a notoriously slippery business; hopefully New Lynn locals will soon be able to look beyond the most suggestive component of “Transit Cloud” and find other meanings in Kregar, Hughes, and Popadich’s luminous installation.

Gregor Kregar, Sara Hughes, and Davor Popadich’s “Transit Cloud” in Kregar’s studio (photo courtesy the artists)

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Benjamin Sutton

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...

3 replies on “Phallic Cloud Art Sets Off Storm”

  1. Don’t tell me religious prunes are offended that it looks like a dick with balls. Only people who can’t stop thinking about human sexual organs and think they are dirty would have an issue.

    1. You don’t have to be a prude to think that having a giant dick art around is simply gross.

      What if you are a feminist, do you want a giant symbol of male dominance literally towering over you daily?

      Basically, there’s a reason why we stop putting penises on things after eight years old or so.

  2. Art is filled with phallic representations, going back to ancient times. At least they can serve as a gentle reminder to men to watch the health of their tools. More men should take advantage of a top notch penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) to help address issues such as dry/flaky skin, unwanted odor, loss of sensation, etc.

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