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February 28, 2005

On The Gates of Manhattan ...

Now that it's started coming down, why were so many people so pissed off at Cristoís Gates? Iím not talking about people who just didnít care for it Ė themís the breaks in the art racket. Iím talking about all those people who said he should have done something else with the money. Fuck you; itís his money. Municipal art projects are always controversial, and those who donít like an exhibit always bitch about the cost. But Cristo absorbed the entire bill. It was a boost to tourism, and that in turn generated significant bucks to merchants on all four sides of Manhattanís Central Park Ė including the north side, up by Spanish Harlem.

I think thereís a large group of people who canít deal with the fact that when they look at or participate in a work of art, sometimes they just donít get it. Fine. ďArtĒ isnít a generic mass communications medium. If you donít get it, you donít get it. That doesnít make you stupid or the other person smart, even if that other person is a pompous ass. Itís okay not to get it. Itís like Rowan and Martinís Laugh-In: just move on to the next bit of business.

Yeah, you're right. I just wanted to compare Cristo to Rowan and Martin.

Posted by Mike Gold at February 28, 2005 11:46 AM

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Written by Andrea Peyser, Columnist of the Year in the NY Post of Monday, 14, Feb.
"Wake me when these hideous things are gone.
It's time to let the truth be known. 'The Gates'--that maniacally promoted, ludicrously expensive sculpture project now infesting Central Park is the artistic equivalent of a yard that's been strewn with stained toilet paper by juvenile delinquents on Halloween.
It is the defacement of beauty, not its creation--a fraud perpetrated on the people by no-talent hypemasters and their chief cheerleader in City Hall.
Please, make them go away!
Walking into the park yesterday, I was assaulted by thousands of what looked like shower curtrains twisting in the wind...
'The Gates' was presented as the ticket for our stubborn, precious, maddening city to be elevated into something of a quasi-Eurotrash capital (except where the natives bathe regularly)...
We were all pulled into a kind of mass hysteria orchestrated by a couple of charismatic snake oil salesmen--Christo and Jean Claude--and their pretentious booster Mayor Bloomberg.
'The Gates' is an abomination. Call me a Philistine, but how can one improve on trees, lakes and rocky outcroppings with miles of plastic-treated cloth?
It's enough of a sin that 'The Gates' overpowers Central Park's soaring, hypnotic beauty. But the color of these bed sheets plunked down on metal frames every 12 feet throughout the park is so atrocious that the project's creators ought to be charged with assault!..."

Posted by: eclark1849 at February 28, 2005 02:58 PM

Sorry, didn't mean to post just the editorial by Peyser. Would have been able tgo see the "art" in person except I got sick as a dog the day before I was to go to New York. Hmm, well they say God works in mysterious ways...

Posted by: eclark1849 at February 28, 2005 03:06 PM

Ms. Peyser is entitled to her opinion -- even if the only place she can sell it to is the New York Post. I wouldn't wipe my ass with the New York Post, because that would be redundant.

I'm entitled to my opinion as well. Ms. Peyser is an idiot. Whereas Bloomberg leaves a lot to be desired (I would have voted against him, had I lived in New York), he's a damn sight better than America's most thin-skinned reactionary, the glory-hogging Rudy Giuliani, whose fading career was resurrected by his astonishing ability to turn 9/11 into his own personal p.r. event. 2,800 people died to make this asshole a hero.

As for The Gates, hey, they look kinda pretty to me.

Posted by: Mike Gold at February 28, 2005 03:06 PM

For me, THE GATES met a basic requirement of art, in that they made me see Central Park in an entirely new way. The light coming through the "curtains," the wind blowing so that some gates billowed and some did not, as if there were a dozen micro-climates within a few city blocks. If it was good art or bad art, we'll figure out in time. But it sure was fun.

Posted by: Martha Thomases at February 28, 2005 04:31 PM

"Ms. Peyser is an idiot."

Well, that sentiment's a bit strong and as far as I know, unfair and uncalled for, but you're right. you're entitled to your opinion.

As for Guliani, well, this is one conservative who will either vote democrat (provided neither Hillary or John Edwards is running) if he becomes the Republican candidate. Actually, let me stop tripping off acid. The only Democrat I could vote for at this point would be Lieberman and we all just know that's not going to happen.

But it happens occasionally, and this is one of those times Mike. You and I have the exact same opinion of Guiliani, except I don't consider him a hero, period. Seriously, what did he do that's heroic?

Posted by: eclark1849 at February 28, 2005 07:31 PM

I first saw Christo's work on film when I was an art student at the University of Utah in 1969. Yep -- it was different, and challenging. Like, how do you "sell" work that only lasts for a few days or even hours? (He was also trying to set up his Central Park project back then!)
Thirty-five years later, he has shown me that it is not only possible to draw attention to the beauties of our landscapes by feats of fabric engineering, but to get rich by selling your plans, sketches, and photos of those amazing moments of thought-in-action.
Christo's a treasure -- his stunts are witty, elegant, and free from cynicism which has marked other examples of Conceptual Art.

Posted by: Michael Evans at March 1, 2005 12:21 PM

Living in exile out here on the Left Coast, I had no time to wander down to see Christo's exhibition firsthand, but I have never been a fan of the man's work. I had not realized, however, that he had paid for the installation (and, I trust, the striking of the exhibit) all by his lonesome, which is fine by me. It does make one wonder whether any graffiti I might put up in Central Park would be so welcome. But I digress.

Look, Sturgeon said it best. We're just stuck with debating which of the remaining 20% is actually in the brillian 10%. I contend, however, that what Christo did is not so much art as it is promotion -- and for that, you'd have to mark him down for success. How many people went to Central Park to look at those bedsheets?

Posted by: Mike Flynn at March 4, 2005 01:41 PM

You can't be 60738 serious?!?

Posted by: Max Ballstein at June 17, 2006 08:33 AM

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