Aby Rosen Planting More Giant Sculptures Alongside Hated Hirst?

Damien Hirst, The Virgin Mother (2005). Aby Rosen has installed a different version of the piece in Old Westbury, Long Island, to the chagrin of his neighbors. Courtesy of Damien Hirst.
Damien Hirst, The Virgin Mother (2005). Aby Rosen has installed a different version of the piece in Old Westbury, Long Island, to the chagrin of his neighbors. Courtesy of Damien Hirst.

New York real estate giant Aby Rosen isn’t done ruffling feathers in Old Westbury. Local residents and mayor Fred J. Carillo already want Rosen to remove The Virgin Mother, a recently installed Damien Hirst statue revealing the muscles, bones, and unborn child of a pregnant woman (see artnet News report), but more oversize works may be on the way for the small Long Island town.

Reportedly, Rosen’s other plans for the grounds include one of Tom Sachs‘s giant “Hello Kitty” statues, a 1986 piece by Keith Haring, and other large-scale works. Because of the negative reaction to the Hirst statue, the local government is considering passing an ordinance that would impose a 25-foot height limit for accessory structures like large-scale artworks.

The property, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was purchased in 2011 for $3.4 million. According to Page Six, the five members of Old Westbury’s planning board toured the grounds on Friday. They will make their recommendations to Rosen in advance of a July 7 hearing, giving the real estate mogul the chance to make alterations to his plans.

The board’s suggestions could include having Rosen, who is the chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts (see What is Collector Aby Rosen Doing as New York’s Arts Council Chairman), plant large hedges to screen the public’s view of the controversial Hirst piece, which he is reportedly open to doing. The statue could also be turned so that the more graphic side, showing the fetus and other innards, does not face the street.

Rosen’s other major art-related dispute, regarding the fate of Pablo Picasso‘s Le Tricorne, the iconic theater curtain that gave the Four Season’s Picasso Alley its name, was recently resolved. As reported by artnet News, the massive wall-hanging will be restored on Rosen’s dime before moving to a new home at the New York Historical Society.


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