An exercise machine with a wooden penis attached has been removed from an art exhibition at Porirua's Pataka Museum.
The exhibit, called Sex-a-size, is the work of Kapiti Coast artist Jason Beca, who courted controversy when his "erotic chair" went on display at the museum last year.
His latest piece, an abdominal machine with a wooden phallus attached, was displayed in an area of the museum with no warning that the exhibition was R18.
Titahi Bay resident Lea Thoms said she was horrified when she and three of her children, aged between 6 and 20 months, came across the exhibit yesterday.
"It looked like some sort of torture contraption. I didn't know what to do," she said.
"I was completely, absolutely, stunned into silence."
She was not offended by the exhibit, but was unimpressed with the lack of warning.
Pataka general manager Darcy Nicholas said he agreed.
"I've been part of the arts scene for a long time, and every now and then, someone does something funny that you can laugh about. But this piece, I think, was far too graphic."
Nicholas said he laid eyes on Beca's work late on Thursday and sent an email to staff first thing yesterday asking to have it removed.
"It's not fair on the other artists for people to be distracted by a large wooden penis, which totally takes away from the quality of the other work there."
Beca said he was surprised it took so long for Nicholas to see Sex-a-size, as he set it up on Monday. "I did say when I dropped it off that maybe they should have a sign up to warn people."
He claimed the gallery wanted a "show-stopper", which is why he brought it in.
"It cleared a few people from the room when I took it in there . . . it did what it was intended to do."
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