February 13, 2005


So, the artist Christo finally has unveiled his latest art project.
Here's how one story describes it:
Its official title - "The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979-2005" - refers to the artists' conception of the idea 26 years ago. It was expected to take about two hours to drop the fabric from all the gates.
"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."
Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times, however, is inexplicably entranced by the entire thing. To such an extent that one wonders how much Kleenex it will take to clean him up afterwards:
Like all projects by this duo, "The Gates" is as much a public happening as it is a vast environmental sculpture and a feat of engineering. It has required more than 1 million square feet of vinyl and 5,300 tons of steel, arrayed along 23 miles of footpaths throughout the park at a cost (borne exclusively by the artists) of $20 million.

I hadn't been quite sure when I first saw the project going up last week. From outside the park, the gates looked like endless rows of inert orange dominoes overwhelming Frederick Law Olmsted's and Calvert Vaux's masterpiece.

But as the artists have insisted, the gates aren't made to be seen from above or from outside. I stopped in at a friend's office high above Central Park South yesterday and ogled the panorama, which was lovely. But it was beside the point. It's the difference between sitting in a skybox at Giants Stadium and playing the game on the field. The gates need to be - they are conceived to be - experienced on the ground, at eye level, where, as you move through the park, they crisscross and double up, rising over hills, blocking your view of everything except sky, then passing underfoot, through an underpass, or suddenly appearing through a copse of trees, their fabric fluttering in the corner of your eye.

There are no bad locales for seeing them.

Yeah, well, I saw the beginning stages of this pig back in mid-January. And I can say that it's been uglier longer than it's been a masterpiece, pal.


People living in the city have had to dodge a ridiculous number of concrete slabs for the better part of two months. This in a city that is less than accomodating when you ask it to take you in a cab to a place it can't understand.


It was hideous, really. And I enjoyed the view even less since it was the first time my wife and I had visited the city. Our first-ever carriage ride was full of nothing but these hazard-orange safety markers.


Giulliani would have never put up with this shit.

Posted by Jeff at February 13, 2005 09:57 AM | TrackBack

WTF - don't these rich dolts have anything better to do?

Posted by: mac at February 14, 2005 08:13 AM

Stupid money means never having to say, "I have taste."

Posted by: Jeff at February 14, 2005 11:47 AM
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