Since 2016, Australian duo Gillie and Marc Schattner have dropped their art in some of the City’s most public places. Rockefeller Center, Astor Place, and MetroTech Commons have all hosted their work. Typically devoted to the animal world, they sculpt rabbits, dogs, and rhinos engaged in human-like activity. Take “Paparazzi Dogs” (2016), for example, which debuted on the corner of Greenwich Avenue and Christopher Street. The scene featured four dogs dressed up in suits wielding cameras at passers-by. Light-hearted, sure, but the critics went queasy. Jerry Saltz once called it a “surreal-ish kitsch monstrosity.” Nevertheless, the Schattners refined their motif and exported it elsewhere.
So in August 2019, when they introduced their “Statues for Equality,” perhaps they caught everyone by surprise. Instead of tinkering with animals, they turned strictly to humans. Recognizing the lack of memorials for women — in New York, for instance, only six of the City’s 125 “people” statues honor women — Gillie and Marc redressed the scarcity. In a display set at the UBS Building on 6th Avenue and 51st Street, they cast ten of today’s best-known ladies in life-size bonze. Oprah, P!nk, Gabby Douglas, Cate Blanchett, Jane Goodall, Tererai Trent, Jane Goodall, Janet Mock, Nicole Kidman, and Cheryl Strayed were all placed in the plaza, gleaming. A month later, the statues were sent downtown to 32 Old Slip.
When the exhibit wrapped up, a few statues were shipped to San Francisco, some to a restaurant in Greenpoint, and others to parts unknown. Hiding among the warehouses on 9th Street in Long Island City, though, one has finally resurfaced. Perched atop a garage in the the shadow of the Ravenswood Generating Station, a sculpture of P!nk entertains seagulls and pigeons. But is it the real thing? Well, when connected to Jessie Schattner, daughter of the artists and current director of their worldwide projects, she confirmed that “that is their statue.” Wow! According to the Schattner’s website, P!nk was fashioned on an aster because the musician herself chose that flowery perch. It embodies the diversity of her fans. So, if you want to be counted among those ranks, well, walk on over to 9th Street!
Photo by Rick Stachura. September 27, 2020.
The statue of P!nk performs in front of Ravenswood Generating Station in Long Island City, Queens.