Friday, November 6, 2009

The Gates

A boatload of words, a shelf full of books, and miles of film have all been created, describing New York City far better than I ever could. It is one of my favorite spots on the planet and I have spent a lot of time there.

But in 2005, it had been four or five years since I had been, and when the publicity started around the Christos' temporary art installation, The Gates, in Central Park, I became obsessed with seeing it. I found a cheap fare, gathered up one son and one niece, and we flew off to NYC.

We landed late, in a huge snow storm, and jumped into what was probably the last car traveling from JFK into NYC. We were staying at The Plaza as it is right on Central Park and was about to close for major renovations. (It needed them badly.)

The next morning, we headed into the park. It was a beautiful day, and the fresh fallen show from the night before was stacked four inches high on each Gate. The entire effect was incredible.

The Gates was quite controversial – some loved it and its challenge to the concept of “what is art”?; others thought it defaced the park and was a big waste of many; more others were glad it brought incremental tourist dollars into the city, mine included. It was only up for about three weeks.

Christos and his wife have produced a number of environmental art installations. Two others I've seen, and only at a glance while driving by, were The Umbrellas 1991 in Southern California and The Running Fence 1972-1976 in Northern California.


  1. He also wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin, my neighbor was there and did some helping!!

  2. This is Wonderful! Thank you for sharing these fabulous photos.

  3. oh what a wonderful post! i'd have LOVED to have seen that! i remember seeing the movie about the Running Fence project years ago and loving it...thanks for sharing these images.

  4. I saw Christo's Pont Neuf wrapped in Paris many years ago. I wish I had some pictures of it but I wasn't much into photography back then. Great pictures. I'd love to have seen this installation too.
    I wonder what Christo is up to now.

  5. Sometimes I do wonder about modern art, and don't really understand the message. I don't profess to understand the message here, but I find it very pleasing to the eye, and so for me it was art. That's probably a very shallow reason, but there we are.

  6. I've never seen any of Christo's installations in person, but I have postcards of several of the older ones.

  7. The light in these pictures is really nice. I think I like this best of Christo's work. I didn't like his wrapped island much or the Reichstag, but I think this one was very interesting.