Archive for Saturday, February 19, 2005

International visitors embrace fleeting ‘Gates’

February 19, 2005

Advertisement

— Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude told delegates from around the world who toured "The Gates" in Central Park that they want people to think of their projects as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"We love these words: Once upon a time there was 'The Gates' in Central Park.' Once in a lifetime and never again," Jeanne-Claude said at a reception Thursday for "sister city" delegates at the Boathouse in Central Park.

Jiaming Song, left, of the Beijing Municipal Institute of City
Planning, and Xie Xiaofan, second from left, of the Beijing Central
Academy of Fine Arts join artists Christo, second from right, and
his wife and partner Jeanne-Claude for a photo during a summit for
"sister city" delegates at the Boathouse in Central Park. Christo
and Jeanne-Claude created "The Gates," a 16-day public art
installation at Central Park featuring 7,500 gates of
saffron-colored fabric.

Jiaming Song, left, of the Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning, and Xie Xiaofan, second from left, of the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts join artists Christo, second from right, and his wife and partner Jeanne-Claude for a photo during a summit for "sister city" delegates at the Boathouse in Central Park. Christo and Jeanne-Claude created "The Gates," a 16-day public art installation at Central Park featuring 7,500 gates of saffron-colored fabric.

She said the special aesthetic quality flowing through "The Gates" and their other projects was "love and tenderness," borne out of the works' temporary nature.

About 100 delegates from Beijing; Budapest, Hungary; Cairo, Egypt; Jerusalem; Johannesburg, South Africa; London; Madrid, Spain; Rome; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Tokyo made the trip as part of the Sister City Program of the City of New York.

They appeared to be charmed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, whom they peppered with questions during a reception after taking a walk through "The Gates."

The 16-day public art installation, which ends Feb. 27, features 7,500 gates of saffron-colored fabric swaying in the breeze along 23 miles of the park's footpaths.

"It creates a space for your imagination. It really does look like a river of light," said one delegate, Steven Sacks, Johannesburg's director of arts and culture. "It interacts with you."

The artists are known worldwide for their monumental temporary works of art, which include surrounding 11 islands in Miami with pink woven fabric in 1982, wrapping silver fabric around the German Reichstag in 1995 and opening 3,100 umbrellas in Japan and California in 1991.

The delegates, composed of cultural and civic leaders, were amused by Christo's description of how he and Jeanne-Claude scouted out the park for just the right placement of the fabric-draped frames.

"We walked 100 miles and went through three pairs of shoes to pinpoint the place where each gate would be good," Christo told the gathering. "It's a human project. All our projects are very dynamic. They stir emotion because of the cloth."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.