In recent years, the High Line has been adding interesting art along its length and even on the billboards facing the linear park. Now, public art seems to be spreading outwards into neighboring Chelsea, a long-time destination for pricey galleries. Near the High line, a former gas station on 10th avenue has been turned into Sheep Station, a surrealist sculptural landscape.
There are dozens of sculpted sheep set on grass among the pumps and station.
The sheep were created by French artist François-xavier Lalannen, who died in 2008. This piece is the largest collection of Lalanne’s iconic “moutons.” Now, his son, also an artist, has picked up and carried his legacy forward
Beyond the sheep, there’s a lot more to see commissioned by the High Line next to or actually on the park. Viewable from the rails, Gilbert and George’s Waking, a new billboard piece, “represents the primal life forces at their most formative and explosive stages.”
Then, there’s the exhibition “Busted,” offering a new series of contemporary busts amid the High Line’s public gardens. One artist, Steven Claydon, created UNLIMITEDS & LIMITERS, which humorously plays with the idea of the traditional bust, with doubles in resin and concrete.
Ruby Neri created Before a Framework, a woman leaning against a window frame. “By casting in bronze a figure portrayed in a meditative pose, the artist creates a composition which appears as a strange hybrid between vernacular art and classical sculpture.”
And then there’s a new piece on former Secretary of State Colin Powell by Goshka Macuga, a Polish artist who creates works around “singular historical episodes.” Here, Macuga, inspired by Picasso’s Guernica, puts into bronze Powell’s controversial speech to the U.N. Security Council on Iraq and its supposed weapons of mass destruction.
Lastly, along the unfinished High Line at the Rail Yards, which will eventually become part of the third and final segment of the park, the High Line have placed Caterpillar, another set of sculptures by Carol Bove, this time only viewable through an arranged tour.
Other linear parks are also becoming green platforms for viewing public art. The new Bloomingdale Trail (just re-branded “The 606”) will set aside spaces for specially-commissioned sculpture and light and sound installations throughout its 3-miles. In fact, Francis Whitehead, a Chicago-based artist shared equal billing with landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Collins Engineering as co-designers of the park and its new outdoor exhibition spaces.
Image credit: (1-3) Getty Station, (4-9) The High Line