New York City has a beautiful sheep’s meadow.
It is fifteen grassy acres so-named in Central Park where 200 or so sheep lived for a number of generations in the mid-18th to 19th century, and later it became home to “love-ins”, concerts, and sunbathing. This week Manhattan officially has a second pasture for sheep to graze, although the rolling hills are much smaller and the sheep are slightly more stylized – and the site is a gas station in Chelsea.
The surrealist scene will catch the eye of a hard driving taxi driver who used to top the tank off at this stop, but the month-long pastoral venue that officially opened yesterday will also make them crack a smile when they see the 25 epoxy stone and bronz “moutons” by François-Xavier Lalanne grazing around. One half of Les Lalannes with his wife Claude Lalanne, the French sculptor exhibited many iterations and new additions of his sheep beginning in the 1960s until his passing five years ago.
The new installation by real estate developer Michael Shvo in partnership with Paul Kasmin Gallery along 10th Avenue is similar to the work Les Lalannes would have done together in that it combines his interest in the sculptural and hers in vegetation and the natural world. In fact this French countryside hemmed in by white fencing will need to be mowed by humans, a job that real sheep would have gladly taken care of.
You can imagine this public art show to be a corresponding component to an art fan’s day in Manhattan if they saw the upcoming Magritte exhibition at MoMA, Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 and then stopped by the Sheep Station on their way to a stroll along the nearby Highline in all its autumnal splendor. The orchestrated natural otherworld installation wanders freely between high concept and decorative and you’ll probably find this curious little patch of grass is an unusually welcoming pit stop, a psychological breath of fresh country air for the post-industrial traveler.
A wall piece installed earlier for another event remains from Street Artist/photographer JR and painter José Parlá. Sheep Station with works by François-Xavier Lalanne at a former Getty filling station in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
The public exhibition runs until October 20th and you can read more about Sheep Station at http://gettystation.com/
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