Sunday, June 26, 2016

Remembering the Gates in Central Park

Not long ago, my friend (and prize-winning author) Nicholas Basbanes posted on Facebook  a stunning long-distance photograph  of the Gates, a work of art which had taken 20 years for the artist Christo to bring to fruition in New York's Central Park in 2005.
Seeing the line of orange fabric "gates" trooping across the landscape with the Fifth Avenue Manhattan skyline behind them, in Nick's photograph, set me to hunting for the photos I took of the Gates on the last day of the exhibition in February 2005.  And I found them! One is above.

What are the gates,  you ask?  According to Wikipedia, the Gates  were "a  work of art by Bulgarian artist Christo Yavacheff and French artist Jeanne-Claude, known jointly as Christos and Jeanne-Claude.The artists installed 7,503 vinyl 'gates' along 23 miles of pathways in Central Park.  From each gate hung a panel of deep saffron colored nylon  fabric. The exhibit ran from February 12, 2005 through February 27, 2005. All told, 7503 individual gates were installed." 

And on the last day, as I was taking photos, the saffron panels contrasted beautifully with the new-fallen snow.
Nick Basbanes' photograph gave a panoramic look at the Gates, but I found I was focusing more on the interaction of the people and the art.  In fact, whenever I go to a museum or art exhibit, I always end up photographing the people reacting to the art, rather than just the art itself.  (see my last year's post about "People Peering at Picasso")

Look at the fun that people of all ages are having interacting with the Gates, above. (This was before the age of selfies, remember.)

But the photo that somehow got me choked up was this one below of a well-dressed older couple, undoubtedly New Yorkers, enjoying the show just as much as the children running between the posts.  The Gates was, in my opinion, New York public art at its best.

And here's Nick Basbanes' wonderful photograph (below) that set me hunting to find mine after all these years.  Thanks Nick!

By the way, Christo has just revealed his latest art project, "The Floating Piers", connecting two small islands in Northern Italy for 16 days, starting June 18.  I don't think I'll make it there, but at least I have my memories of the Gates, from 11 years ago.

No comments: