The piece, painted by Swedish artist Carolina Falkholt, was not an act of rogue artistry or graffiti. A companion piece to her large rendering of a vulva on Pike Street, the four-story penis mural was commissioned by a street art foundation called the New Allen.

That said, the group reportedly skipped the important step of getting city permission for the mural. While some defended her right to expression, complaints were lodged as fast as the Instagram likes and comments piled up. Scaffolding was quickly erected to remove the piece. By Wednesday afternoon, according to NBC News New York, it was no longer visible.

For her part, the artist said the piece was meant to prompt discussion about sexual violence and to challenge body shaming. In an Instagram post on Christmas eve, she described the positive reaction she encountered: “I have never heard so much laughter and seen so many happy faces behind my back when painting as for today doing this wall on Broome Street.”

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