The old Getty gas station at 24th Street and 10th Avenue in Chelsea, which will be leveled and turned into a development project, currently houses an art installation created by Francois-Xavier Lalanne that features a flock of sheep.
The gas station was completely transformed for the Sheep Station, with rolling hills of green grass and 25 grazing “Mouton” sculptures enclosed with a white picket fence. For the project Michael Shvo partnered with Paul Kasmin Gallery, who handles Lalanne’s estate, (Lalanne passed away in 2008). Shvo co-purchased the site and plans to build luxury residences there. During the construction, the Getty station will supposedly feature several other exhibitions, and the finished residency says it will do the same.
Lalanne was born in southwestern France, but lived and worked in Montparnasse. Influenced by artists such as Constantin Brancusi, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, Lalanne is attributed to creating his own brand of surrealism. He sought to demystify art, which he regarded as a funhouse rather than a cathedral.
The sight of the 25 epoxy stone and bronze sheep is startling and surprising against the industrial backdrop of Chelsea and certainly feels more fun than sacred. Indeed, Lalanne enjoyed working with animal forms because “everyone can recognize animals throughout the world. You don’t have to explain what they are or mean.”
The installation is up through October 20th.