The New York City Parks Public Art Program, in conjunction with Paul Kasmin Gallery, and in cooperation with the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee, presents the first-ever, large-scale outdoor exhibition in the U.S. of Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne's sculptures. From September 13 – November 20, 2009 more than eight monumental works and a single work comprised of 12 individual sculptures will span multiple-sites on Park Avenue between 52nd and 57th Street.
Featured works include Pomme de New York by Claude Lalanne (b.1924), a large-scale bronze sculpture of an apple, epitomizing the monumentality of the city's iconic image, and François-Xavier Lalanne's (1927–2008) last sculpture, Singe Avisé (Très Grand), a cross-legged monkey with a pensive expression. Visitors will experience Claude's whimsical visions of the natural world in works like Choupatte (Très Grand), an anthropomorphized cabbage with bird's feet, textured and colored by verdigris, and Nouveau Lapin de Victoire, 2007, a cane-carrying rabbit standing upright. François-Xavier's works on view similarly explore the intersection between humanity and animals lending an iconic presence; Oiseau de nuit (grand) the owl, 2004, a symbol of wisdom, perches knowingly atop its bronze pedestal, while Wapiti, 1996, a North-American deer looks over its shoulder, making viewers aware of the animals' perspective. Also on view will be François-Xavier's Moutons, 1988-1994, that feature a life-size flock of twelve sheep and lambs, crafted from epoxy and bronze.
"It's an honor to present the first major outdoor exhibition of the work of renowned French artists Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne on New York's celebrated Park Avenue," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "The artists' iconic sculptures, including one of New York's most enduring symbols—the 'big' apple—are sure to delight New Yorkers and visitors alike. I would like to thank the Paul Kasmin Gallery, the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee, and Parks' Public Art Program for bringing this exciting exhibition to New York City."
Having rediscovered the Renaissance art of casting forms from life, then employing contemporary electro-plating techniques, Claude Lalanne achieves a delicacy and sensitivity in her work unparalleled in cast bronze. François-Xavier Lalanne similarly found inspiration for his works in nature. In his words, "The animal world constitutes the richest and most varied forms on the planet." His subjects consist of a menagerie of animals, stylized forms oftentimes married with functionality. His works achieve streamlined elegance in their profound simplicity.
The Lalanne's work, known individually and collectively since the 1960s, has been exhibited extensively in important exhibitions, and most recently, featured prominently in the sale of the collection of Yves Saint Laurent, Christie's. They are represented in major private and public collections including: the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (New York); Musée Nationale d'Art Moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris); Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris); the City of Paris; the City of Santa Monica; and, the City of Jerusalem.
The Lalanne's are the latest in a roster of distinguished artists to exhibit on Park Avenue, including Lynda Benglis, Fernando Botero, Jean DuBuffet, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana, Louise Nevelson, and, Tom Otterness. Parks and Recreation's public art program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations and artists have produced hundreds of public art projects in New York City parks.