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Amy Reusch

The Gates

51 posts in this topic

Looking at the press for Christo & Jeanne-Claude's "The Gates" in NYs Central Park, I can't help wondering if anyone's been tempted to try any site-specific choreography before they're taken down.

The NY Times has a nice overhead photo in it's slideshow. I'm not sure how to put a link here as the URL doesn't appear. If you go to this article there's a link there

'The Gates' Colors Central Park in Saffron

``It's a bit insane, but that's why everybody is here,'' said Ali Naqui, who was brought to the unveiling against his will by his fiancee.

Among the first folks there were 17 fourth-graders from an elementary school in Queens. The group boarded a bus before sunrise and made the trip into Manhattan, where they were suitably impressed by the spectacle.

``It's a waste of money, but it's fabulous,'' said student Shakana Jayson. ``It brings happiness when you look at it.''

I suppose, everyone in Central Park is involved in accidental site-specific choreography?

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It's the 21st century, I hear, but in Central Park it's the 1970s again, the time of "happenings" and "Fun City," of Mayor John Lindsay and Parks Commissioner Thomas Hoving. It was not a happy time for Central Park, which took years to recover. Presumably, The Gates will do no lasting damage to the park. Christo and Jean-Claude are supposed to disappear and leave not a rack behind. I certainly hope so.

I went to the park today in search of art and solace. I associated the saffron color with lamas and spirituality. Instead, as I approached from the east on 78th Street, I saw what looked like flapping Con Edison banners delineating a construction site. Surely, those weren't The Gates? But they were. They looked a little better from within the park. Walking under that fabric with so many (mostly younger) fellow humans was not unpleasant, but I failed to feel part of something grand and artistic. Instead, it seemed we were imposing on a great New York City treasure to no purpose other than the aggrandizement of the "artists."

As I left I heard one twenty-something say to another, "Awesome!" What else could I have expected her to say? I thought it was awful.

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The park is necessary reprieve for New Yorkers who spend so much time cooped up (or, in some cases, co-opped up :angry2: ), giving us the rare opportunity to get a sense of open space. I haven't yet seen the installation, but I imagine it defeats the open feeling.

The aerial photos are fantastic, though. Maybe Christo intended it to be seen from a helicopter.

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Walking the dog in the park this morning I was greatly disappointed by 'The Gates.' When you are right in front of a Gate the view is blocked and over by the Sheep Meadow it was too spread out to have an affect.

I think this is something best viewed from the air. Perhaps the roof garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art would be a good place?

I think some of Christo's other works are more interesting like the wrapping of the Reichstag:

http://intranet.grundel.nl/grassroots/duit.../reichstag2.jpg

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Actually, this was just the sort of environment Twyla Tharp would have relished during her days of street theater dance.

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I think this is something best viewed from the air.  Perhaps the roof garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art would be a good place?

Several of my friends are going to the rooftop today to see the Gates. The Met has opened the rooftop (usu. closed at this time of the year) for the next few weeks, so people can view the Gates, acc. the friend who called for info.

-amanda

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I haven't seen it yet, but I will. The color has turned me off, though---it is like the color of the jumpsuits worn by prisoners...... :P

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Farrell Fan, I'm sad to hear your report. :P

Never having seen a real life Christo installation, I surely hope to make it in.

I've enjoyed the NY Times articles and the posts I've read here.

For those of us who've never experienced a Christo wrapping et al, it is something I feel I should see.

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I cracked up at this quote,

``It's a waste of money, but it's fabulous,'' said student Shakana Jayson. ``It brings happiness when you look at it.''

I can understand that the money might have been used for something else more critical, but how could something that brings happiness in a public space be a waste of money? There's so little of it going around.

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A very good point. And further, the shade of orange is not the International Orange of prison jumpsuits. It is more yellow than that, and at least one tint darker. "Saffron" about describes it. It's sort of Wordsworth's "Daffodils" run riot. Nice to have before even the snowdrops are up.

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I wasn't quite sure how I'd feel about the Gates-now having seen it.......I still don't know :)

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Christo expects to make money on the Gates by selling photos of it, etc., it's not like the money's being spent it's more like an investment or in actual terms, a blatant commerical use of the park. :)

Over the weekend there were SO many people around the park and the Upper Westside it was crazy, almost like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade were going on!

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Christo expects to make money on the Gates by selling photos of it, etc., it's not like the money's being spent it's more like an investment or in actual terms, a blatant commerical use of the park.  :)

Over the weekend there were SO many people around the park and the Upper Westside it was crazy, almost like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade were going on!

No public funds were used to make The Gates. The money came from the Christos. No admission was charged. The cost was some 20 million dollars. Now that the Gates are complete, Christo will not draw this subject any longer--this limited nature of his art making on the subject is what enables him to sell the drawings in the first place, thus funding the projects. The city benefitted by the influx of tourists, to say nothing of the intangible benefits of the karma, which was excellent on Sunday afternoon. What fun!

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I liked it better before the fabric was unfurled. The orange rectangles echoed the building shapes which surround the park, yet integrated wlell with the green space. The fabric makes the installation much more intrusive into the space by obscuring the view and such. Though I suppose Christo's other pieces have also been dramatic in this way. Certainly wrapping abuilding is intrusive...don't know how much the umbrellas were. That would seem more "harmonious" with the space...though I never saw it in person so I can't really say. I wished he would comment more on the intentions behind the relative amount that the installation would exist in the space, or take over it.

Been looking forward to this for a long time. It's exciting

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No public funds were used to make The Gates. The money came from the Christos. No admission was charged.

I'm afraid that never stopped anyone from criticizing anyone else for the way s/he spends his/her money. Living in the City of Bill Gates, one of the contant mantras is How He Should Spend His Money and How He's Not Doing Enough. (Somehow, this criticism doesn't seem to filter down to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who, despite his wealth, asked the public to subsidize a football stadium for his NHL team.) That in addition to the constant carping during the Dot Com era about Microsoft, amazon.com, etc. Millionaires not giving enough in charitable donations, despite the general rule that it takes several generations of giving before it is ingrained behavior, and many of the suddenly wealthy high tech folks were the first in their families to have any substantial wealth, but gave anyway. (But Not Enough.) I know quite a few foreign-born tech people who are single-handedly supporting their extended families, and some even towns in their home countries, but because they aren't big on the United Way list of donors, they get no "credit" for it.

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:)

I know quite a few foreign-born tech people who are single-handedly supporting their extended families, and some even towns in their home countries, but because they aren't big on the United Way list of donors, they get no "credit" for it.

And their families/towns are not tax-deductions, either.

I've gotten to the point where I just work hard to suppress my knee-jerk condemnations of how people spend their own money. We all squander money :( , even if only for that $5 pair of earrings or something from the ice cream parlor, that would be better spent innoculating children, supporting medical research, educating young adults . . . .

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Well--the artistic side of the venture escaped me :) I do agree with Farrell Fan---it could be mistaken for a construction site. I suppose I am always suspicious of artists who have to clone one theme hundreds of times to give it some weight. I did like what Cristos did in Paris; he draped a bridge across the Seine and it was so ethereal, it looked like it could go straight up into the clouds.

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The city benefitted by the influx of tourists, to say nothing of the intangible benefits of the karma, which was excellent on Sunday afternoon. What fun!

Despite these civic benefits, I am very heartened by the people on this thread who have seen through to the "Emperor's New Clothes" aspect of this entire project. Christo is sort of the P.T. Barnum of the current art world. To follow this up, Matthew Barney should fill Central Park with Jello. We can then watch that from the roof garden at the Met.

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I suppose there will always be people who think of art as unnecessary expense because it's benefits are usually intangible. However, I believe it feeds society ideas that are absorbed and then recycled in the depths of the creative process. A way of putting together notes or colors may sink in to a scientist's mind and return unconsciously as a way of putting together chemicals... or facts or whatever elements that creative person is assembling. On a more pragmatic side, I think advertising drives the success of many industries which produce "necessary" items, and a society with no art (has such a thing ever existed?) would not produce very good advertising. I'd even go so far as to say the creative freedom of western advertising is what really won the Cold War.

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One thing I'd like to know is why people keep calling these things 'saffron colored' when they are so definitely pumpkin!

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. . .  and a society with no art (has such a thing ever existed?) . . .

I think the desire to express onesself through art has been proven universal among humans and even been shown to exist in non-human beings. (Unfortunately, the link in that post does not bring up any examples just now.)

One thing I'd like to know is why people keep calling these things 'saffron colored' when they are so definitely pumpkin!

Because they're not orange? :cool: I expect to see them this afternoon/evening, and I'll let you know. I hope I get there while there's still enough daylight. :flowers:

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From the near distance of about half a block to two blocks away, the effect suggests a road repair site, with the orange-y caution flags. The color is slighty yellower than pumpkin, nycdog, but not yellow enough for marigold. Saffron describes it well.

Against the soft periwinkles and roses of the late afternoon western sky, the drapes looked garish and vulgar. But looking back east as they caught a breeze, the effect was lovely.

I seem to have been of two minds on this all along. :cool:

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Saw this while looking for details of the fundraising

People preened under the unfurled gates, watching the fabric sway. Now one no longer ambles through the park, but rather saunters below the flapping nylon. Paths have become like processionals, boulevards decked out as if with flags for a holiday. Everyone is suddenly a dignitary on parade.

In a Saffron Ribbon, a Billowy Gift to the CityKimmelman, NY Times, 2/13/05

But this was what I was really looking for, what Nanatchka was talking about:

But all costs involved with its staging, estimated at $20 million, have been met by the artists, who refuse to accept sponsorship or donations towards funding their work. Their only revenue from the project will come from selling sketches, drawings and paintings made in the course of its planning.
'The Gates' transforms Central Park Hooper, CNN, 2/16/05

I thought I had read it explained somewhere in more detail, but can't seem to find it. I bring it up, because... well... dance companies are always facing fundraising issues.... and I was wondering why they don't help raise funds by selling the costume & set designs... I've always wondered if Diaghelev didn't use those beautiful Bakst costume designs as a means of persuading doyennes to bestow their largesse. It seems that the dance companies could make do with copies of the originals as easily as work off the actual originals, and the public relations value of having the designs prized in wealthy patron's collections would have indirect pay-offs as well. Even at a lower level, it would be wonderful if the company gift shops sold notecards of the designs, everytime someone mailed correspondence it would be like a double advertisement. Would it be an intellectual property issue for the designer? Or is it work for hire?

Have dance companies been using EBay for fundraising?

Should I double post this to the ballet-talk for dancers site?

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In (on?) her blog, Tobi Tobias considers The Gates:

Entering at Central Park West and 106 Street, you clamber up eight tiers of steps bordered by boulders, gates brightly poised on either side of each landing.  At the top, you’re greeted by a goodly number of gates deployed on the periphery of a huge circle, the fabric waving in the breeze like an civic arrangement of celebratory flags.  Just past this point you reach the spot’s highest prominence—called the Great Hill, but in truth a modest elevation—from which you gaze down through thickets of branches glinting silver in the afternoon light to see smaller parades of flags, tracing other byways. Downtown, the Great Lawn offers an even grander curved formation, but the larger expanse of the ground encompassed diffuses the enthusiastic nature of the effect slightly.  Or perhaps the power of the impression depends on which location you happen to see first.

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I'm not saying I've come to like them, but it seems the Gates Affekt depends on the spot where they are viewed the best place I have seen is the north end of the model boat pond looking south (just north of 72nd on the east side).

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