Thursday, February 17, 2005

Bravo Christo & Jeanne Claude!

Hello Everyone,

Last Saturday we arrived at the park at 8:30 a.m. just off 72nd street entrance to one of the many informal unfurling ceremonies happening at the same time.  At that moment, le raison d’être became so very clear.  I understood Christo, Jeanne-Claude, their dedication to their art, relentless drive and vision and was quite touched by the culmination of their hard work, a gift to New York.  It didn’t seem to matter anymore that we missed an official unfurling with Bloomberg, media, et al.  

After 911, the war with Afghanistan & Iraq and the election of 2004, why let the media convolute and interpret the meaning of art for me.  Why answer their question when asked what it means-Bravo Jeanne-Claude!  Hearing people talk on that first day of the Gates, it seemed that they meant many things to many people.  For some it meant shedding memories of 911, and others, a diversion from the war and media, but to us, it was all about birth, life and living life again through our newborn son, Nickcho.

For the next two weeks, Christo rules New York.  Let him do for people, what others have promised and have not yet delivered.  Thank you Christo & Jeanne-Claude.


Jason Block's Photos

Jason Block has published a photo album of Gates photos. Here's a preview:

police on horseback

long row of gates

handsome cab horse

Gates Events?

Does anyone know of any special Gates-related events or tours of Central
Park? I think I heard there was going to be a walk-through by a group of
Buddhist monks next week, but I don't know the details.

Important: Please Limit Your Photo Uploads

Hi everyone,

It appears that large photos are overloading the email system and preventing people from posting. Because of this, I'm going to have to impose the following rules:

  • Post only one photo per email.
  • The photo must be smaller than 200k.
  • Don't post another photo until you've seen your last photo posted.
  • Please cc the-gates @ so I can monitor the pace of posts.

Thanks for your cooperation,

Connection Between Gates and Canopies for First Night 78?

Canopies for First Night 78

Canopies for First Night 78 copyright Hera January 1, 1978
2 canopies 250' long x 10' wide commissioned by First Night
nylon spinnaker cloth procession rehearsal on Boston Common

A couple of months ago I spoke to Christo when he was giving a talk at
Cooper Union. I asked him when he designed the Gates. His answer was
1979. Then I asked if he remembered seeing my "Canopies for First Night
78" at Midnight on the Boston Common January 1, 1978, and if he
remembered asking me questions about how I "made them work." He was
unwilling to answer my questions and hurried away....The truth of the
matter is that he was (to put it tactfully) inspired by seeing the Canopies.

In today's art world, people do not acknowledge sources for their work
as was the tradition in the arts for centuries. I have discussed this
with artists and critics, supporters and friends. The last artist that
they remember giving attribution was De Kooning. At their encouragement,
I am sending images of the source of Christo's piece (the "Canopies for
First Night 78") to appropriate critics.

Christo's Gates are a static take-off from the fluidity of the two 250'
long 10' wide nylon spinnaker cloth Canopies which I designed. This
stasis is predictable when one takes a design which was meant for fluid
movement and makes it stationary. On First Night the Canopies were
carried from two different directions to meet at the Boston Common at
midnight. They were a huge hit. Revelers were so eager to be a part of
the action that they took the Canopies away from the 60 bearers I had
chosen, and carried the Canopies themselves. There were thousands of
people on the Common that night. The Canopies were written up in all the
Boston papers, Time magazine, and by Lucy Lippard in the November 1981
issue of Art in America: "Another outlet is the community festival like Hera, whose First Night '78 consisted of a canopied sculpture
accompanied by a torchlit procession through the Boston Common on New
Year's Eve..."

In 1982 Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis wrote a 251 page official
refusal to have The Gates based on solid environmental concerns. Our
current political climate admires business and development. In this
atmosphere The Gates are more acceptable. The great part of the appeal
of The Gates lies in the huge publicity effort Bloomberg has carried
out. As we know all too well, people are much more comfortable going
with a name brand.

As a responsible artist who believes in attribution of artistic sources,
I feel it is appropriate for Christo to credit the Canopies for First
Night '78 as the source of his inspiration. Anyone is free to use the
enclosed photo if attribution is given: "The Canopies for First Night
78" copyright Hera 1978... designer/sculptor/procession leader.
Thanks for your interest.

Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions you may have.

145 Cold Brook Road
Bearsville, NY 12409
hera @
(845) 679-4439 vox
(845) 679-4441 fax