Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Gates

Many years ago I saw the film of Christo wrapping the Pont Neuf in Paris
on television, and it blew me away. The audacity! It was weird and beautiful.

More recently, we stumbled into an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, which included "preparatory drawings, collages, scale models, and photographs of the artists' large-scale projects, as well as several of Christo's early packages and wrapped objects."

I haven't written anything here about The Gates in Central Park (except for the slim possibility of seeing it personally), because I assumed people would be sick to death of hearing about it. However, the few times I've mentioned it in recent days, people have no idea what I'm talking about. Be educated.

The full New York Times coverage includes video and slide shows.

About the unveiling. We didn't need the gates to make us sensitive, obviously. Art is never necessary. It is merely indispensable.

Slide-show essay.

Witold Rybczynski refrains from judging the aesthetic merits of the installation but provides some historical context:
From the beginning, Olmsted and Vaux strenuously opposed all attempts to introduce art into the park. In their Greensward Plan of 1858 — the competition entry that won them the commission — they wrote that while it would be possible to build elegant buildings in the park, "we conceive that all such architectural structures should be confessedly subservient to the main idea, and that nothing artificial should be obtruded on the view." They considered art a similar distraction from the restorative purpose of the landscape.


Christo and Jeanne-Claude official website: We believe that labels are important, but mostly for bottles of wine.

All of Christo's work — by which I mean the "art" as well its logistics — is breathtaking, not least because of how quickly it's gone.
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