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So... this Christo thing in Central Park. Pardon my lowbrow ignorance, but what the fuck? I know that "art" is a subjective term, but we're talking about a bunch of orange curtains hanging in the park for a couple of weeks. That's Christo's style. Put up a bunch of fabric over a gigantic amount of space and call it art. Well.. I'm disagreeing. I don't think it's art. I'd love for someone who does think it's art to tell me what the value of it is for them. What do you get out of a piece such as that? How does it make you feel? What emotions does it stir?

If I were a New Yorker, my reaction would be this: If you want to spend $20 million dollars on something for the city, why not start fixing some of these damn potholes? You can fill them in with orange concrete if you want. Would that be art, too? It certainly would be useful, that's for sure. Better yet, why not give the $20 million to public school art programs? You might then open some doors for people who have the capacity to create actual works of art.

Don't get me wrong... I'm all for large-scale weirdness or even shenanigans in public spaces, but this just seems wasteful and it not very creative or moving. Wow. You took a whole bunch of fabric and hung it up. Brilliant.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2005 12:26 am (UTC)
I agree 100%. Orange pothole fillins would be so much cooler.
Feb. 17th, 2005 12:28 am (UTC)
Why did it cost $20 million anyway? I read that they used volunteers to actually set up the "gates." Is fabric really that expensive?
Feb. 17th, 2005 12:33 am (UTC)
Doesn't say volunteers here.

The Gates will provide employment for hundreds of New York City residents:

* Manufacturing and assembling of the gates structures,
* Installation workers,
* Maintenance teams around the clock, in uniform and with radios,
* Removal workers.

Feb. 17th, 2005 12:47 am (UTC)
Hmmm, well I guess that explains the big bucks. I thought that I read in the NY Times that volunteers did the building. I guess I either misread it, or was high at the time...
Feb. 17th, 2005 12:49 am (UTC)
They even made "Gates" uniforms for the workers, I read! Crazy! At least it's not tax payers money or anything, like it prolly would be if it were in Seattle. Heh.
Feb. 17th, 2005 01:07 am (UTC)
no shit, did you know that washington state (your taxpayer money) actually paid chihuly 10something million for that damn tacoma bridge of glass? total crap.
Feb. 17th, 2005 01:08 am (UTC)
Ugh! I did not know that and am now thoroughly disgusted!
Feb. 17th, 2005 01:29 am (UTC)
yep, they tried to cover it up by saying "chihuly's gift to the city" etc etc but the city actually paid for (most of, i think) that gift.
Feb. 17th, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)
It is if you're Smoove B and you have to travel the world to find the finest silks spun on the finest looms in the finest sweatshops known to man.
Feb. 17th, 2005 01:54 am (UTC)
Hanging thousands of feet of orange cloth in Central Park IS NOT art.

Hanging thousands of feet of orange cloth in Central Park and getting someone to pay you to do it IS art.

Feb. 17th, 2005 02:47 am (UTC)
Yeah, I have yet to go see it to tell you what I think of it. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be impressed.

I'll say a few things about the damn exhibit though:

1. The $20 million was raised by Christo, so it didn't take anything out of the precious NYC budget. But, for $20 million, he could build a few more subway cars and hang orange curtains in the cars. I don't give a shit about the potholes, because I don't drive. They would look nice orange, though.

Christo could have even helped the "C" line a few weeks ago, when the antique subway terminal caught fire and shut down the whole line.

There are a million things this city could use, but no one wants to do anything practical. The MTA's answer is to raise subway rates, which are already pretty expensive. Ughhhhh.

I digress..Central Park is beautiful enough, it doesn't need 23 miles of bright orange curtains hanging in it. But, I'm sure all the foreign tourists love it. That's what it's really about.
Feb. 17th, 2005 02:50 am (UTC)
I forgot to say the thing that is costing the city money is the 24-hour survelliance by the NYPD.

So, while another young actress gets shot in the Lower East Side, the police are watching the curtains blow in the wind.
Feb. 17th, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
You know in years past, I've found Christo's work actually quite beautiful, but I don't see how 20 million bones is worth a piece. That's a bit extreme.
Feb. 17th, 2005 07:48 am (UTC)
Well, as a fan of it, my two cents would be that the purpose of it is not to make the artist look super by reflecting "brilliance", nor to be weird or a shenanigan or make a shallow gesture of artsiness. I think of it as the addition of something so monumentally artificial into the everyday world, something that even in its individual pieces people might find to be just pretty and different, something that changes that world just a little bit, but strikingly so, and only for a short time, so that when the physical artwork itself goes away it stays with all the more strongly in the memory. Also, by giving the person who encounters it on the ground an experience that is so peculiarly different from the normal experience of the space of Central Park, when the thing is removed there might be some heightened ability to recognize and notice what natural beauty there is there normally, already. It's artwork that can be interacted with, walked through, touched. You can spill your coffee on it or your dog can take a wizz on it. No matter. And it doesn't represent some idea that's somewhere else, abstract, remote, and intimidating. It just is what it is. And it's not directed towards a specific audience. Because of all these things, this is probably as un-highbrow as things can possibly get, in my opinion. And of course not everyone will enjoy it. That's natural and not a problem. But the idea of the artwork is not the artwork, no matter whether one has a positive or negative idea of it. Because of that, because I haven't seen it in person, I can't truly say what I get out of it.

Also, all of the "volunteers" who helped unfurl the cloth on the opening day were paid.
Feb. 18th, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC)
when the thing is removed there might be some heightened ability to recognize and notice what natural beauty there is there normally

I like that. Great way of looking at it.

I'm undecided, part of me kinda likes it, and another part of me finds it missing the mark.
Feb. 18th, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC)
nephew....from Keith Olbermann's blog-

I'm not wild about Saffron (Keith Olbermann)


Feb. 18th, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC)
I dunno, I think on some levels it's semi-poetic...

Take Central Park, this big expanse of natural environment. Arguably the only real taste of fleeting natural life in all of NY. I mean really - it's a forest, set right in the heart of Manhattan, and it's beseiged on all sides by this huge megaplex of stone buildings and glass skyscrapers and some of the biggest attractions to NYC. Basically, nature set into one of the most ANTI-natural sections of real estate they could find!

SO, this man-with-one-name art geek decides to create "gates" in the middle of it. Not just "Gates" but this big huge array of this most UN-natural color you can possibly find! I mean unless you're birdwatching in the jungles of Costa Rica you're not gonna see this god-awful color flapping happily in the breeze anywhere! My guess, if you took an aerial photo, all that orange would probably spell out "Fuck Nature."

My guess, "gates" can be so-called in case some drunken tourist falls alseep in the park, wakes up forgetting where he is and can't find his way back to the noise and the smoke and the yelling and the huge buildings and neon and all the other crap. He just sees bunch of trees and grass and gets scared as hell until some dwarf with a cigar wearing a track warm-up suit tells 'im to follow the yellow brick road back to the metropolitan nightmare.

My take on it anyway, as an ex-New Yorker.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )