Despite warnings of a large community outcry, Dan’s Papers erected a massive aluminum sculpture outside our Southampton office this week.
The work, titled “Walking Dan,” was designed and fabricated by Hungarian art superstar Nisan Täuschen and funded by Southampton billionaire Derwood Hodgegrass, a longtime Dan’s Papers fan and close friend of Täuschen.
At some 36 feet tall and 10 tons, “Walking Dan” stands looming over County Road 39, inciting rage and joy in passing motorists.
“People will have to get used to it,” Hodgegrass said this week, explaining that Täuschen’s large figurative sculpture is here to stay. “It’s really quite a wonderful piece,” the billionaire added. “‘Walking Dan’ may appear to be standing still, but the figure is quite clearly deep in thought, making long intellectual strides—a walkabout of the mind, if you will.”
Hodgegrass commissioned the monumental sculpture after first learning Westhampton would be displaying Donald Baechler’s large, aluminum “Walking Figure” statue near Gabreski Airport. “I felt it only right that Southampton also have some stunning and enormous public art, so I asked the powers that be at Dan’s Papers if we could use their property to install it,” Hodgegrass said, admitting that he had not been aware that another giant sculpture, “Tokyo Brushstrokes” by Roy Lichtenstein, was going to be installed at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill.
The Parrish Museum’s “Brushstrokes” was installed back in April, but Baechler’s work and Täuschen’s sculpture were installed within a week of one another.
“Hell, the more the merrier, I say,” Hodgegrass quipped. “I’m happy for Westhampton and Mr. Baechler, and I truly believe Nisan’s work is important and should be seen,” he said. “I’m grateful to Dan’s Papers for allowing us to present her work to the Hamptons in such a bold and striking way.”
Just hours after “Walking Dan” was in place, a coalition of angry residents began calling the Dan’s Papers office to insist the statue be removed, but Dan’s has absolutely no plans to capitulate.
Dan’s Papers, Hodgegrass and Täuschen are now in talks aimed at installing more humongous statues in key locations around the East End.