the gates, reloaded

Long-time readers may remember my enthusiasm for The Gates, the Christo project in New York's Central Park.

I was thrilled to still be living in New York when the project happened, and I blogged about it incessantly. Old posts: when The Gates first opened, why I cared about it (in response to a reader's question), my thoughts on Gates detractors, and finally, my impressions after seeing it for the first time. (I went twice, once without a camera and once with - plus, the second time, there was snow on the ground.)

Also, some Gates fun here.

Reading these old posts, I see I was considering buying something to remember the experience. I was also happy about the little freebie giveaway, which now resides in a small clip frame near my desk.

As we got ready to leave New York, the idea of owning a signed print from the project appealed to me more and more. Allan and I both enjoyed The Gates so much, and it seemed so fitting to bring something very special, and very New York, to our new home. We decided to splurge.

Back in present-day Port Credit, I'm on another round of fixing up the house: ordering shades for the living room windows, hanging curtains in the kitchen, framing some photos, putting things on the walls. To these ends, we had our prized poster framed and hung it over the couch.

It looks like this, in a simple black frame, with Christo's signature in the bottom left margin. Click to enlarge.

I also just noticed that I saw The Gates exactly one year ago! The day we took the print in for framing was actually a year to the day; quite the coincidence. When we walked into a local art gallery with our print, the curator couldn't believe her eyes: she had just printed her own photos from The Gates and was choosing one to have enlarged and framed. Must have been something in the air.


andrea said...

Fantastic post, Laura. I loved trawling through your experience of The Gates and it gave me pause, once agin wondering why I've *still* never been to NYC in spite of my ongoing fascination with it. Considering the detractors (and an artist friend in Baltimore whose work I admire was one of the most vehemently closed-minded) I can't imagine such a controversial installation having the same kind of success/acceptance in Canada -- well *maybe* in TO -- and for that I once again love New York. Clearly it's unrequited love, though. :)

laura k said...

Thank you, Andrea!

And what are you waiting for? :) If you do go, check with me for recommendations and tips. I know several reasonably-priced hotels (that is, reasonable for New York) and lots of great stuff to do to stretch your tourist dollar.

Really, as an artist, you ought to go.

Re The Gates... it took Christo and Jeanne Claude more than 20 years to get the green light, so even New York wasn't completely keen on the idea. But New York is certainly one of the few North American cities that could pull it off.

Crabbi said...

What a wonderful post! What a wonderful poster (you and the Christo ;) )! Wish I could have seen The Gates...

I was a little mystified myself by the anti-Gates reaction. I mean, it's not as if someone put a urinal in the middle of Central Park -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

laura k said...

Thank you Crabbi :)

I was a little mystified myself by the anti-Gates reaction

You and me both.

Nerdbeard said...

I was more mystified by the magnitude of the reaction in both directions. My reaction was initially, "Yeah, so?" and eventually became, "shut up about it, already!" I did enjoy reading up on Cristo and seeing photos of some of the other things that have been covered in fabric. Trees, beaches, buildings, etc.

Boy, if I ever need something really big covered in fabric, I know exactly who to call. This stuff seems to be about novelty for novelty's sake. Take something very familiar and make it look utterly alien. It's a great effect. For about five minutes. Then I think I'd want to turn around and look at surf pounding a cliff au natural. Maybe they're trying to make me appreciate what I've already got? I dunno.

laura k said...

It's definitely much more than a novelty. Whether or not it would be to your taste is a separate issue, but it is something you have to physically see and walk around to experience.

A five-minute look wouldn't tell you anything. It would be like reading one page of a long novel, or seeing one frame of a film, and thinking you could judge its worth.

Nerdbeard said...

*shrug* I'm not sure I can see an argument for the experience of novelty not being the intended effect of these installations. They usually make use of famous landmarks, or landscapes that can stand in for another that the viewer is likely to be familiar with. They radically transform the appearance "overnight", and then some short time later they are gone without a trace. I'm not saying it's BAD -- where would we be without novelty? Pretty darn bored. -- but that does seem to be the major theme in all of this.

Where do you think I'm going wrong? What is the "much more"?

Please pardon and ignore if this is a boring rehash for you.

laura k said...

I would direct you to my older post after I first saw The Gates. It's linked above, the link called "my impressions after seeing it". That might explain what I saw in it, how I felt about it.

For me, it was an intense experience, deeply moving, in the way that great art can be. (And I emphasize: for me).

You're right that novelty is very important in life! But I feel to call this a novelty is to trivialize it. Like when we say "a novelty song" or a "novelty store" - they are little trinkets, meant to entertain for the moment and nothing more. Whereas The Gates felt much more substantial to me.

They radically transform the appearance "overnight", and then some short time later they are gone without a trace.

This is true. Yet music, theatre and dance are ephemeral art forms, and are valued no less for it. So the fact that it's short-lived doesn't make it a novelty in my eyes.

I will say one thing for certain, though. Photos of The Gates are not The Gates. Like most art, when you see it in person, it has a completely different effect.

laura k said...

Having said all that... it's quite possible that if you saw it in person, you would shrug and walk away. But it's impossible to know unless you did actually see it.