Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The emperor has no clothes.

For years I have watched with amazement at the attention this artist
Isn't there one person out there who is also stupefied by the utter
banality of these projects?
I know the size is the point, but the this rampant, "just because I can"
justification that screams out from these absurdities strikes me as just
so misguided.

I know he finances it himself, and I know he has the right to do what he
wants with his dough, but damn I could think of a lot better things one
could do with $20 million bucks.

I have been watching it go up in the park for weeks. Still willing to be
converted when they are unfurled. But I am skeptical.

Isn't anyone else?


Blogger Andy Carvin said...

I have a feeling lots of people are as skeptical as you. For better or worse, Christo's work has struck a chord with people, often negatively. I remember when he wrapped the islands of Biscayne Bay in pink cloth; at the time I thought it was nuts. But as I've had a chance to experience more public art, the more I've developed an appreciation for it. For me, public art is a wonderful way to spur discourse within a community. As one person posted earlier today, strangers in Central Park are now talking with each other, comparing impressions, commenting on the spectacle around them. That's why I created this blog: to have a place on the Internet where people can express their thoughts and ideas about the event and engage in discussions with others.

So I think there's a good reason to seem skeptical. But I also think there's a good reason to be excited and eager to experience in person. I have no idea what my reaction is going to be like when I see it this weekend, but I'm pretty sure I'll have a strong reaction one way or another. :-)


1:15 PM  
Blogger ABR said...

Could not agree more. Regarding the previous comment on this post, the same bringing of spectators together could be accomplished by creating beautiful public art, rather than ugly. Perhaps the problem is, since others try to create the beautiful, you need to do an especially good job to stand out if you try this route, whereas it's easier to achieve the needed attention-attracting contrast by going ugly instead.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Andy Carvin said...

Well, I'm reserving judgment as to how beautiful The Gates will be. I've traveled in the Himalayas and have been awestruck by the subtle beauty of rows and rows of prayer flags blowing in the wind. If it were just a bunch of orange gates, I wouldn't be particularly thrilled, but the fact that they'll be flowing with saffron-colored flags could prove to be quite moving.

Anyway, I guess I'll find out in about 72 hours. I'm off to NYC from Boston on Friday.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Dewi said...

I love that our (my) park is being used for their environmental art piece. I cannot wait until the Gates curtain are unveiled. The steel bases have been interesting enough for me as an environmental art project, it can only get better!

We live in a time here in America where the concept of creating art or being an artist is so misunderstood. For me there does not have to be any reason for the Gates creation except that the artist wanted to create this work. Moreover, I am so grateful our mayor Bloomberg loves art for arts sake. I think Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work is intriguing and beautiful.

I live next to Central Park and use the park every morning and evening to walk my dog. I get to interact and enjoy this art installment differently then someone who does not use the park on a daily basis. I walk in the park at dawn with my dog and liek all the dogs in the park she has been over the top thrilled with this installation, sniffing every single steel base we pass; and there are many. They’re filled with the aroma that dogs adore (another dogs pee). Therefore, the dogs have already loved this installation. My dog has become skilled at navigating around the bases when she runs down a hill after her ball. Not once has she knocked her self out sliding into them when fetching the ball. I am sure she will bark like a crazy dog this weekend when she sees the curtains hanging.


2:40 PM  
Blogger DavisMcDavis said...

I have to say I didn't understand the wrapping things that they have done before, but then I thought the same thing about Van Gogh's artwork, as pictured in my art textbook in high school, until I finally saw one in person. It's one thing to see a photograph and entirely another to see them in person, I think.

I'm also impressed by the generosity of Christo and Jeanne-Claude for going through all the work and criticism and red tape to follow through and do something simply because it will look cool. I think we could use more of that in this world.

I went to look at the Gates being set up today, and even pre-unfurling I think they look fantastic. They really look exciting and pretty in contrast to the drab gray park, and I think it will be even more beautiful on a sunny day with a breeze blowing the curtains - I'm really looking forward to it. You should just enjoy them instead of anal-yzing them and how much they cost. People don't complain about the cost of the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty or the Macy's Day Parade, do they?

2:56 PM  
Blogger Em said...

Well, in theory I agree.

But if you've ever stood in front of something like this (for instance, Richard Serra's stuff), you might feel a little differently.'ll probably still feel it was a waste and part of you still won't call it art, but you'll also think to yourself: "Man, this really looks weird."

And then that's it! That's what it's all about, and given that they've already decided to spend all that $$$, make sure you allow yourself to enjoy it. You WILL remember it, no matter how much you think otherwise.

Ah well. There are worse things in the world.

3:21 PM  
Blogger vherub said...

i was walking through the park this past weekend without being aware what the many "tiny rusting benches" were doing. And I was struck by how awesome the weather was.
i see safety orange as the color of choice for college pranks- i would have rather seen some glass tunnels (imagine the rain coming down over you!) or some giant snow sculptures out of a Calvin & Hobbes comic.

There is a lot of art i do not see the value in, and not just art, but tv shows, magazines, movies, books, music, however other people get value from them and i dont get anything from putting them down.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

My wife and I walked around the park yesterday evening at sunset. It was a grey evening, and the bright orange of the Gates really vibrates with energy. It was wonderful to see.

We both agreed that the Gates allowed us to see the park in a different way, a way that we hadn't experienced before. The yet-furled Gates created framed views of the park, of trees and buildings, of people walking. Paths became hallways through the rooms of trees. Around the circle of the Great Lawn, they seemed to march past the light posts, towering above them, quiet and graceful in their procession.

It was beautiful, and others around us were smiling, looking, and talking to eachother about their experience of them. It was a good walk.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Laura A said...

I agree with ABR's comment: The same striking effect could have been executed with more sensibility. Those structures look awkward and clunky. And while the concept is beautiful in theory - "saffron highlights flowing in the wind...willowy passages.. Etc" the actual experience is more like walking through an unfinished construction site. In my opinion, these "gates" would have flattered the nature of Central Park more successfully had they used a more organic design as opposed to all those angular corners, tacky pleats and too short hems.
I hoped to see rows of archways instead of pointless rectangles. I would have liked to feel wrapped in the warmth of brightly colored veils, as opposed to simply walking under piecey vinyl curtains. And mostly, I would have though that given the astronomical budget and the very high pretenses of the artists they would have come up with something better.

1:56 AM  

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