For two years, a sixteen-foot sculpture of a pair of shapely legs by the artist Larry Rivers has been on display in the side yard of art dealers Janet Lehr and Ruth Vered. Despite the sculpture’s pedigree (Rivers, who died in 2002, was a well-regarded local artist) and the precedents that have been set for sculptures of this sort, some local officials fail to recognize its genius and have been trying to use arcane building ordinances to force the owners to remove it.
Sag Harbor’s village attorney, Fred Thiele Jr., told the Buildings Department in an email: “While some may consider this to be ‘art,’ it is irrelevant .” The legs, he said, were a structure subject to the village building and zoning requirements and needed a building permit as well as historic and architectural review.
In other words:
But other officials have come to the sculpture’s defense (“I like the legs,” Michael Mensch, a member of the town’s architectural review board, told the Journal), and thus the debate rages on. At least until the night Thiele sneaks over under the guise of watering the plants and knocks the thing over, shattering it to pieces. Out of jealousy.