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Jun 9, 2017 1:31 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

'Legs' Sculpture Vandalized In Sag Harbor Village

Jun 12, 2017 4:38 PM

People walking along Henry Street in Sag Harbor Village may have noticed that a familiar piece of art has been given an unwelcome new splash of red paint.

The famous “Legs” sculpture outside a Sag Harbor residence was vandalized with a red blotch discovered Thursday afternoon, June 8, according to Stephen Grossman, the attorney representing the sculpture’s owners, Janet Lehr and Ruth Vered.

Mr. Grossman said the vandalism was discovered by a TV news reporter who had interviewed him in Southampton earlier that day about citations issued on May 30 that said the 16-foot-tall sculpture did not comply with village zoning regulations. The reporter drove to Sag Harbor to see the sculpture and found the damage, then called Mr. Grossman, who called Village Police.

Ms. Lehr said on Friday that she does not know who defaced the sculpture, although she noted that the red was painted on and not merely thrown at the artwork.

“It’s terrible,” she said. “People have no respect for art, and this is very difficult to clean up.”

The fiberglass pair of long, white legs was designed by artist Larry Rivers in 1969 and installed in its present spot, at the corner of Henry and Madison streets in Sag Harbor, in 2008. A 2015 State Supreme Court decision deemed that the sculpture qualifies as an accessory structure, meaning that it has to conform to the village’s zoning code when it comes to height and setbacks.

“Legs” has been back in the public eye after Sag Harbor Village Senior Building Inspector Thomas Preiato issued six citations on May 30.

“We have files of letters from people all over the world saying why they love the sculpture, and we save them for this reason,” Ms. Lehr said. “It is art—there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be in a public place.”

Mr. Grossman said his clients were served an appearance ticket in Sag Harbor Village Justice Court on July 7 and that he plans to plead not guilty on their behalf.

“People have to get upset by this,” Mr. Grossman said. “I think Sag Harbor holds itself as a community of artists. Art is protected under the First Amendment, and the village code has no consideration for art. The responsibility lies with the [Sag Harbor Village] Board of Trustees.”

He added, “When someone threw red paint on the sculpture, people noticed.”

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Maybe they should appropriate someones else's art as well
By BeachBum545454 (9), Southampton on Jun 9, 17 2:14 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 9, 17 3:00 PM
Bloody Legs...(voila, no more problem).
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Jun 9, 17 5:54 PM
Why don't they just give up and take it down as directed. Maybe I'll hang my underwear from a flag pole and call it art as well..
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Jun 9, 17 6:33 PM
why don't they just give up and take it down as directed.

well, that's an easy qestion, spite
By Erin 27 E (1281), hampton bays on Jun 9, 17 7:35 PM
they are far more beautiful and meaningful than the very lame very boring very out of place Lichtenstein brushstroke things at the parrish art depot
By david h (405), southampton on Jun 9, 17 7:14 PM
I happen to like the legs ....I think they're part of what makes Sag Harbor unique. The problem I have is with the artist ....
By Sturgis (611), Southampton on Jun 10, 17 1:17 AM