The Hamptons do not mess around.
The town of Sag Harbor, New York, has been battling a pair of enormous legs created by the late artist Larry Rivers. The legs, 16 feet tall and made of Fiberglas, were erected outside the house of art gallerists Janet Lehr and Ruth Vered in 2008. Page Six reports that a judge eventually ruled that the legs constituted a “structure” in violation of zoning laws and needed to come down. But they never did.
For almost 10 years now, the town has been in a wild dispute over the striding appendages. In 2016, Hampton elites were treated to a private screening documentary on the controversy (directed by Jennifer Brooke and Beatrice Alda, daughter to Alan):
“These were extremely private screenings,” Brooke told us in an e-mail. But “happily people seem to have a lot (good) to say about the film.”
We hear that after Alan Alda saw the controversial movie, he asked the directors, both Sag Harbor residents, “And where will you two be moving after this comes out?”
Though the battle has gone on for years, there have been periods of relative silence on the matter. Then, on May 30, Lehr and Vered were suddenly issued six citations by the village’s building inspector, Thomas Preiato, reports local paper 27 East:
Mr. Preiato said he wrote the citations after residents asked him about the status of the sculpture after the Village Zoning Board of Appeals denied a variance for a 60-foot flagpole for the Gulf gas station on Hampton Street on May 16.
Now Page Six reports that the legs have been vandalized. The town of Sag Harbor woke to find them splashed with red paint:
Page Six quotes a local who stated, “In the cultivated Hamptons, this is a vile act of desecration against art.”
Is it? Yes, it’s wrong to violate a piece of art in this way, but it’s not particularly shocking that such a thing is happening in the “cultivated Hamptons.” People do crazy things to protect their summer homes.
Lehr says she has no idea who would do such a thing, and does not yet know the cost of repairing the damage. She added, “It’s a catastrophe.”