NEW YORK – Drivers expecting to pump gas on their way up the West Side Highway are in for a shock. Where once gas flowed, now sheep roam. They are epoxy stone and bronze sheep made by the late sculptor Francois-Xavier Lalanne.
How does an artist get a posthumous show in a former gas station?
Well, developer Michael Shvo bought the Getty station on 10th Avenue and 24th Street intending to turn it into a mixed-use residential building. Before that however, the art-loving developer plans to host a series of outdoor shows, of which Sheep Station is the first. Shvo enlisted Paul Kasmin, Lalanne’s dealer, to contribute the animals, which now live behind a white picket fence with lush green grass. If not for the remnants of gas pumps left behind, the scene is practically pastoral.
Or at least as close to pastoral as one can get with traffic rushing by on 10th Avenue. The sheep don’t seem too disturbed though. They’re positively adorable for creatures made of stone. Lalanne was precise in mimicking their colors, their ears, even their wool.
Sure it’s not as practical as a gas station, but the incongruousness of the installation is perhaps the best part. It’s as if the sheep decided the farm was boring, and instead craved the excitement of the Chelsea galleries. I can’t say I blame them.
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