Monday, February 14, 2005

Vicariously walking through "The Gates"

I imagine most, if not all of you have heard of "The Gates," the $21 million art exhibit installed in New York's Central Park, and unfurled on Saturday morning. (Or, if you're like me, you remember hearing about it at some point a while ago, but when asked about it by someone this weekend, couldn't recall what he or she was talking about.) If not, here's the New York Times archive covering the evolution of the project, including other stories about the artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

When I heard that Fried Rice Thoughts' New York correspondent, Mis Hooz, was checking out "The Gates" yesterday, I asked her if she could send me some pictures. Here's what she sent.

I think Mis Hooz did a great job, getting shots from various angles to convey the overall scope of the installation, not only how it looks as you walk the pathways, but also how it fits against the backdrop of the park and the city. I wish I could blow these up to a bigger size, but I haven't figured out how to fit larger images within the blog's frame.

If you don't have time to check out the articles, here's Jeanne-Claude's explanation of the project: "It has no purpose," she said at a press conference. "It is not a symbol. It is not a message. It is only a work of art."

Well, that didn't really help, did it? Maybe Christo can help a bit more. "This project is not involved with talk," he said. "It is real physical space. You need to spend time walking in the cold air - sunny day, rainy day, even snow. It is not necessary to talk."

Okay, guys. Thanks for that. Maybe I can try: 7,500 of these 16-foot high gates decorate 23 miles of walkways in Central Park. From each of the gates hangs a saffron-colored sheet made of pleated nylon, which can easily sway with the wind and reflect any sunlight that hits it. The exhibit will stay up for only 16 days, and after they're gone, there shouldn't be any physical memory of them. No holes were drilled into the ground, no tree limbs cut to make space.

I think this one's my favorite. It's like the curtains can't be avoided, they're in your eyeline, yet they're also a part of the park, meant to be enjoyed. Great job, Mis Hooz. Thanks for sending the pictures. I'll take any more you're willing to send.