A 33-foot bronze sculpture of a nude pregnant woman with an exposed fetus, skull and tissue is upsetting some people in a ritzy Long Island village. Michael George has more. (Published Thursday, May 8, 2014)
A 33-foot bronze sculpture of a nude pregnant woman with an exposed fetus, skull and tissue is upsetting some people in a ritzy Long Island village, causing children to have nightmares, the mayor says.
The statue, "The Virgin Mother" by British artist Damien Hirst, sits on a conservation easement of the historic Old Westbury estate of real estate mogul Aby Rosen.
Mayor Fred Carillo told NBC 4 New York that several people had written letters about the statue. Parents told him kids could see it from a passing school bus and were terrified.
"The residents were upset that the children in the area could see this," Carillo said.
The mayor said Rosen has been amenable to adding landscaping around the statue to better conceal it, and is working with the town to come up with a solution. In the meantime it has been covered with a black tarp.
Officials say the village has strict rules regulating easements, and the statue was installed without proper permitting and architectural board approval. The statue previously sat in the courtyard at Lever House in midtown.
The village is considering limiting such "accessory structures" to a height of 25 feet. A hearing on the issue is set for May 19.
According to his website, Hirst has created several versions of the piece, which he says is posed in a way to recall Edgar Degas' "Little Dancer of Fourteen Years."
Hirst said the reference to Degas "is kind of naughty; she shouldn't really be pregnant. I wanted a feeling of that."
Rosen had no comment, according to Newsday.
--Michael George contributed to this story
Published at 7:48 AM EST on May 7, 2014
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York