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Controversial Aluminum Sculpture Appears at Gabreski Airport

Lindsay Andarakis

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"Walking Figure," by Donald Baechler. Photocredit: Lindsay Andarakis

A 30-foot sculpture of an aluminum woman appeared seemingly overnight at Gabreski Airport, stunning Westhampton Beach Village officials and residents.

Described as "another piece of iconic artwork that will be added into the landscape of the East End," by the developer of the industrial park at the airport, Rechler Equity Partners, the sculpture will remain in the middle of a traffic circle at the entrance to Gabreski Airport.

The piece, called "Walking Figure," weighs an astonishing five thousand pounds. The female figure is moving forward and swinging her arms next to her oddly shaped, rectangular torso.

Seasonal residents have not yet given their opinion, as the summer season is not yet in full swing, but local residents are not crazy about the statue.

However, this metal lady has some competition when it comes to controversy. There is a thirty-three foot tall sculpture made of bronze that shows a naked pregnant woman in Old Westbury on the property of a historic estate. Those in close proximity to the structure are so incensed about the sculpture that the village board is expected to consider a new law to limit the height of accessory structures, including statues.

Rechler Equity Partners began constructing the Hampton Business District in April 2014. The Hampton Business District as planed will consist of nine buildings on the vacant, county-owned land at Gabreski Airport.

The Village of Westhampton Beach has no legal jurisdiction over this site, it falls just outside of its borders, but the road you can see it from is heavily traveled.

The artist of "Walking Figure," Donald Baechler, is based in Manhattan and told Newsday recently that it, "embodies the concept of forward motion." The statue consists of an aluminum shell as well as aluminum beams, and was constructed at a foundry in Tempe, Arizona, before it was driven cross-country.

"The 'Walking Figure' is always going into the future, going into whatever," said Baechler. "I think the whole idea of an airport is exactly about that, going from one place to another. It seems like not an inappropriate subject."

Landscaping will sooner or later cover the concrete base of the sculpture, and the aluminum should darken over time, making it less obtrusive, according to Baechler.

What do you think of the Hamptons newest towering sculpture? Comment here...

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Guest from westhampton says::
What a waste of money this statue is idiotic anybody who thinks this is art should be condemned to an institution.
Jun 20, 2014 10:11 pm

Guest (decoflair) from 11977 says::
I love it! It adds sparkle, controversy, and debate. It brings attention to our neighborhood. It is indeed, a work of art.
Jun 19, 2014 3:43 pm


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