This is going to be a really busy week for me. The transition out of the old and into the new (jobs, that is) begins at long last, but in many respects, it's a much bigger deal for me than simply finishing one job and starting another. I'll talk more about that later in the week when I have more time.
Meanwhile, everyone else is doing it, and I'm going to as well. Post pictures of "The Gates," I mean. We spent a little over two hours in Central Park yesterday, and I have to admit that I was both startled and awed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude's mammoth public arts project than I ever thought I would be. The color brought to an otherwise barren landscape is magnificent. The layers of trees and gates, positioned forward and sideways creates an entirely different look for the park. The drapes flapping in the wind bring movement and life to the cool and crisp air while the empty tree branches simply sit still. The light hits the frames and the drapes in different ways, and your positioning will completely affect how any one gate looks at any one time. They create majestic borders for some spaces and delineate streaming and winding pathways for others. And I haven't even mentioned my attempts at reconcile the conception and production of it all.
I plan to go back before the two weeks are up and this shock of form and color is removed from the natural landscape. My only wish is that somehow it would manage to snow before their time is done. I can only imagine how beautiful (and different) they would look set upon blankets of rolling white. Sadly, it doesn't look like the weather plans to cooperate.
It will be difficult to ever look at Central Park the same way again. I don't place a positive or negative connotation on that statement. The park is and (hopefully) always will be one of the most special and beautiful parts of this city. Walking through it now with this installation is a brand new experience, and every pathway helps you see the park, even parts with which you're most familiar, for the first time. I anticipate that seeing the park with The Gates gone will be almost as startling as experiencing it for the first time seeing them there.
I hear several people asking why this is art? Or what makes it art? They say they don't get it. To me, art is about looking at something -- a person, an object, an image, the world around you -- in a way you may or may not have thought of before and having a reaction. That's true for performance or visual arts. "The Gates" dramatically change Central Park any way you look at that -- close-up, underneath, as a group from far away. "The Gates" have been added to the canvas of the park; and in under two weeks, they will be taken away. It doesn't necessarily have to have some greater symbolism or meaning to be art, yet for each individual, it still may. I have my ideas, and they may differ from yours. But that's OK too. That's part of what makes it art.
More photos after the jump ...