WELLINGTON (AFP) - It may look like a penis but it's really a cloud, according to a New Zealand artist whose sculpture installed in Auckland has surprised the public.
The NZ$200,000 (S$198,700) aluminium mesh artwork, commissioned by the Auckland Council, is suspended over a walkway near a busy transport hub and in full view of thousands of daily commuters.
Although titled Transit Cloud, the artwork has variously been called "masculine", "phallic", and a "penis", the New Zealand Herald reported on Saturday.
"Oh my God, it's a c**k and b**ls," resident Phil Wellman told the newspaper of the silver-coloured structure.
"Don't you think it's rude?" added Ms Janine Waters, passing by with two young children. "It's definitely that. What else could it be."
"It's certainly not a cloud. It looks like a penis," agreed Ms Joy Dale, describing the sculpture as a waste of ratepayers' money.
However, sculptor Gregor Kregar said there was never any intention of creating a large phallic image and he was confident it would look different once 50m of neon lights were connected to it and lit up inside the structure.
"People enjoy mentioning this stuff, I think. Technically anything can be phallic - a tree, a lamp post," he told Fairfax Media.
"I've studied art and drawing for many years and I never came across a phallus made out of thousands of triangles that was 6m long."