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Friday, February 11, 2005

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Central Park, The Gates

7,500 gates. Each one is 16 feet high with widths varying from 5 and a half to 18 feet. Spaced at 12 foot intervals, they follow the edges of footpaths in Central Park for 23 miles. Saffron fabric hanging down to 7 feet above the ground and waving towards the next gate. In leafless February they can be seen from every direction.

Twenty-four hours before opening, it is now almost three weeks since Mayor Bloomberg announced this long-conceived art project would go ahead. In chronological order, here are the headlines of that three-week build-up:

Christo's and Jeanne Claude's 'The Gates'
Artist Christo giving New York a good wrap
Christo, unwrapped
Artists Watch 'Gates' Take Shape in NY
Central Park 'Gates' a coup for Christo and wife
Bulgarian at 'The Gates'
Christo, Jeanne-Claude watch 'The Gates' take shape
'The Gates' melds art and money
No reason to blow in the wind
NY art shaped in Springfield
Lifting the Gates in Central Park
Swathes of gold in Central Park
Bulgaria-Born Christo Hires Germans for "The Gates"
Sheets to the wind
Art Project Pilgrims Prepare to Install 'The Gates'
Christo exhibit set for NYC's Central Park
Art: It's Not a Wrap!
The Gates: 20 years and $20m later ... (only in New York)
This time, wrap star Christo's open palette is . . . Central Park
New York awaits `The Gates'
Christo's latest installation gets help from K-College grad
Christo's Massive Central Park Art Installation Resumes
Final Preperation for Opening on "The Gates"
Crews begin weeklong preparation for opening of The Gates in ...
Metamorphosis in Central Park
Curtains going up on 'Gates'
Into the starting 'Gates'
Frames Sprout in Central Park to Support Christo's Art
Curtains for Central Park
Erstwhile wrap artists fling open the gates
Crews prepare for Central Park attraction
Final Touches For Christo's Central Park 'Gates'
Gates installed in Central Park
Barbarians (Well, Mostly Art Lovers) at 'The Gates'
Giant artwork covers miles
Miles-Long Christo Art Exhibit Opens in Central Park
Central Park Makeover: Reality Show, in a Way
Central Park fabric walkway expected to draw thousands of tourists
Opening the Flood Gates
Opening The Gates of contrariness
Is the Big Apple becoming the Big Bonbon?
For the love of Christo...
Christo has a lark in the park
Let 'The Gates' unfurl
'The Gates' Creators to Sign Copies of New York Magazine on ...
Christo and Jeanne Claude to Open 'Gates' in Central Park
The wrap artists come to New York
The Gates takes shape in Central Park
New York police to turn out in force to protect `The Gates' art ...
Artists Christo, Jeanne-Claude prepare to unfurl 'The Gates'
Art in the Park Calls for More Than Velvet Ropes
Wherefore the Gates?
Multi-lingual cops to guard 'Gates'
Central Park gets a makeover, Christo-style
Gates make park work of art
Central Park is hosting The Gates, which are draped in saffron ...
Passionate fans of Christo team up to install latest art
New York prepares for the opening of 'Gates'

Paul Dorrell advises: "You should never let a large installation of any kind pass without attempting to get the press to cover it".

It was because of Christo and Jeanne-Claude that I used to wrap paintings on boards. Using a blue industrial strength saran-wrap I would crudely wrap paintings over and over. The result was that each painting with close concentration was only barely visible through all the folds. Oh yeah, and it made the painting rather blue. I was very happy with these paintings and each one was deliberately painted to be wrapped. A show of twenty-two of them was going to be stupendous until an incident with a policeman caused the finished ones to be unwrapped. Re-wrapping was never an option.

I do like February, and can see why Christo and Jeanne-Claude chose it. For 16 days I imagine New Yorkers will like it too.


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