Friday, March 11, 2005

The Emperor's New Gates

We all know art is to a great degree a matter of taste -- and the appreciation of it can vary widely from individual to individual.  But even with all that leeway, not everything is art.  Sometimes, the emperor is really just naked after all.
February Gates Visitor

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

It's a Wrap!

Well, the Gates have come and gone; some people think it was an artistic triumph and a boon for New York; others think it was a crock and a waste of resources. Here's another chance to tell us what you think; I'll be locking up the website at the end of March so we can preserve the comments posted to it during the project, but in the meantime, you're welcome to reply to this post using the comments feature or post new comments of your own. -ac

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Gates are NOT closed yet

March 1, 2005
As of yesterday, the "Gates" are officially closed. Reality looks
different! The dismantling of the gates takes a long time; it started at
the Northern end of Central Park, i.e. in Harlem. The Southern end is
still untouched and will be for quite some time. A walk through the
"Gates" is now more beautiful than ever. There are no tourists and,
apart from a few dogwalkers, no New Yorkers in the park. Hotels are
empty and more affordable than during the show. It is THE OCCASION to
have the "Gates" all to yourself without masses of people taking
millions of pictures. ENJOY THE GATES!


Sunday, February 27, 2005

three blog posts about the Gates

I'm a blogger living in New Hampshire. Last weekend I traveled to
NYC to see the Gates with three other bloggers, and here are links to
my illustrated posts about the experience:

Entry 1
Entry 2
Entry 3



Lorianne DiSabato

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Snowy Gates, Part Deux

Since my lame attempt at HTML (below) failed, let's try again -- for lots of photos of the Gates from my snowy day in Central Park yesterday, go here:

Snowy Gates

In case you haven’t seen enough pictures of the gates in the snow, I spent the whole afternoon in Central Park with a camera and I’ve posted several<a href=""> photos on flickr</a>. Enjoy. --Eric Carvin



Past The Gates Video

Action footage :

Ride the Gates - video via Bike - Cam

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My experience at The Gates

I lived in NY for 25 years, until 1997 when I moved to the San Francisco
Bay Area. I come back from time to time, but having missed California's
Running Fence, I wanted to return for The Gates. Here's the report I sent
to my teen-age son.

When I first saw it, driving by Saturday night in a cab, I wasn't
impressed. I thought I wouldn't like it. It looked industrial, like
someone had installed a factory in a landscape. Then later, when I walked
around at night, I still wasn't crazy about it. But I did realize it made
me look at Central Park differently. I was aware of how the paths snaked
around, and where all the trees were. I did notice lots of people walking
around, which is rare in February, but even rarer on a 20 degree night.

Sunday, I got up and at 8:30 I took a cab up to 100th Street to run with an
old friend. Driving up Central Park West, the orange banners flapping in
the wind seemed bright and cheerful, like pieces of sunshine.Then when I
was standing around waiting for my friend, I got to walk around and under
the gates, and it made me a little happy.They're really solidly engineered,
indestructible, with a pretty light fabric that billows in the wind.
Sometimes I could can stand in a place and see them going off in every
direction. They made a gray/brown park feel a bit summery. That night it
snowed; the next day, against a white background, they still stood out

So I decided I liked The Gates as objects and images. But what really made
me like them more was three other unique ingredients.

First, people. The avenues are teeming, with everyone out on the streets
around the park, strolling, gawking, smiling. Lots of people with cameras,
mostly digital. Not just the out-of-towners. Today everyone is a tourist,
posing and snapping away, playing and looking at their pictures.

Second is the fact that it's the free expression of art, it's almost all
volunteer, and its meaning is whatever the participant sees in it. It
doesn't cost the city a penny: the $20 million cost is financed by the sale
of the artist's drawings. In fact it's a big money-maker for the city,
especially the hotels and restaurants, during the slowest month of the
year. Even the cynics were taken aback by a sign at the tables where
T-shirts, posters and post-cards were on sale: "Christo and Jeanne-Claude
will not derive any income from the sale of The Gates Merchandise. Proceeds
will benefit Nurture New York's Nature Inc. and the Arts, Central Park and
other New York City Parks."

Third, the vision. I think how it took Christo and Jeanne-Claude 26 years
to make this happen. They never gave up, they kept changing the plan to
meet objections and satisfy all the different decision-makers. It was their
Moby-Dick, the whale they never stopped looking for, and knew they would
someday meet. In the end, they got lucky: all the chips fell in their
favor. But they made it happen. It's really amazing to me that they were
able to realize their dream, and bring pleasure to so many people. Some of
the people who aim high succeed, and that's inspiring to me as I try in my
own way to change the world.

Felix Kramer

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Gates

I am sorry, but the Gates are just really ugly. Even in the snow they are ugly. The color is all wrong, it just looks like construction. A complete waste of money. A total publicity stunt. Just awful and ugly. I think the only way it would look good would be to set fire to it!!

The Gates suck!
Jennifer Anderson

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

An Amazing Experience

I will be uploading my photos from the past three days of visiting NYC and seeing/photographing the Gates all three days, though not as many shots as I might have liked due to camera battery issues, but amongst my shots there are a few I'm proud up - will upload them to Flickr and share links to them here.

Overall a very amazing experience - in no small part due to the thousands, probably millions over the past few weeks, of people visiting them. Even today, amidst the snow and ice the park was full, cameras were everywhere, and business throughout NYC was showing the effects - hotels were full, restaurants packed, vendors in and around the park doing well - the zoo packed, lines around the block for the MoMa, even the Guggenheim in the midst of tearing down an exhibition (so having more then 50% of the museaum closed) was packed.

The gates themselves initially do not seem like much, each, individually is orange - but over time, as the light and wind, and as you walk along and amidst the park and realize that each gate's position was carefully chosen and thought out - each part of the park is different yet beautiful, with vistas and images that reoccur throughout the park, yet differ as well.

If you are lucky, as we were, and get to a section of the park full of gates, but relatively empty of people, you can hear the gates flapping in the wind. When the sun was out and the sky clear, the gates are each slightly transparent, and full of shadows, shadows of other gates, of trees, of park objects, fences, even people at a distance.

The gates themselves are also getting incorporated into the life of the park - from children playing on the stands, leaving behind collections of pine cones or a lost mitten, to dogs marking their territory. They are for this month at least, part of the life of the city - and people came from all over the world to view them.

Shannon Clark

Young Artist Creates "Duplo Gates"

Thought some of you might enjoy this story. A toddler has put together his own version of The Gates using Duplo lego blocks. The installation took 15 minutes, then it was promptly destroyed in a matter of seconds by a seven-year-old critic and his seven-month-old henchman. -ac

The Gates in the Snow

This photo was submitted by Michelle Nevius.
snowy gates
Michelle, who offers private walking tours of Central Park, has posted video clips and photos on her website.

Monday, February 21, 2005

A Spiritually Uplifting Experience

this is an audio post - click to play
Rebecca Zimmerman reports on her visit to Central Park this weekend. "I had a very spiritually uplifting experience walking through Central Park," she said. "I felt like I was being surrounded by a constantly moving and shifting temple."

"I loved to watch the curtains of the Gates flapping in the wind and the sun reflecting off them."

Christo in Crawford? First Lady wants artist to 'wrap the ranch'

Christo in Crawford? Texas Town in Knots over First Lady's Plan to 'Wrap the Ranch'

First lady Laura Bush was reportedly so taken with "The Gates," the epic project installed in New York's Central Park by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, that she has asked the pair to consider Crawford, TX, as the site of their next installation. The idea: wrap the Bush's 1600 acre ranch in eight miles of camouflage fabric.

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On the lighter side...

A somewhat smaller-scale gates project in Somerville, Mass.:

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Eric's Pictures

A series of photos from The Gates by Eric Carvin.
The Gates The Gates The Gates The Gates The Gates The Gates The Gates

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Against the trend

After everyone I know went to see The Gates and described their reaction to
me in great detail, I went before work yesterday. In New York, among my
peers (all around 30 and involved in the art world in one way or another) it
is almost de rigueur to hate The Gates. But for me, the idea of The Gates is
what art can be at it's best: public, accessible and universal. After I saw
The Gates, I believe it is all those things.

The piece is successful because it transforms Central Park into an art
object. I like The Gates the most in the deep ancient dark parts of the
Park, where there are no roads, only narrow paths and tall trees. I also
like standing on top of hills and seeing the orange color snake through the
park. I do not like the saffron color though. To me, the saffron is like the
safety orange/yellow of construction sites, a color that is very prominent
in New York City already.


A Bit Underwhelming, but a Spectacle Nonetheless

this is an audio post - click to play

Mary Burns says that she feels The Gates is "a bit underwhelming." She then thinks about Frederick Law Olmstead, designer of the park, and his goal of achieving "a public space where different types of people can interact."
"in that sense," she concludes, "I think the Christo exhibit really achieve its goal, and it's quite a spectacle."

Friday, February 18, 2005


Here's a resounding yes-vote for your blogger site on Christo and Jeanne-Claude's The Gates, Central Park 1979-2005. My sister-in-law and I wandered the Park yesterday (2-17) for two+ hours, and the installation is delightful! We started at Columbus Circle and walked up along the 6th Ave thru-street (stopping to climb rocks and bridges) to the Carousel, rode the flying horses, went on up to Bethesda Fountain, and returned past the bandshell to CC via the Hecksher ball fields. We decided the central motif was change: changing aspects, changing colors, changing sounds, all ephemeral. There was little sun, but with a glint the curtains turned a bright translucent orange in the gray landscape; sometimes they hung still in a vista of drapes and sometimes they flapped smartly in a breeze. In one place, we seemed to be covered in them; in another (looking back) they suddenly went marching off in different directions. And above all, they create a social context-dozens of people were walking through the Gates, all with cameras, and we were talking to each other and taking each other's picture by the time we got a few yards inside the park. In the rain the day before, one group said, all the puddles reflected the orange of the curtains, so they were walking through mirror-images. For people yet to visit: It is helpful to bring a park map (e.g. Flashmaps).

Gates Fotolog

There's a new Gates fotolog that might interest some of you. It's another collection of Gates photos from people who use to blog their photos. Special thanks to Patrick Kowalczyk for sharing. -ac