This past week I've been on hiatus enjoying the company of my favorite freshman, home from college. I've also been coordinating a blood drive which will take place today (public service announcement - please donate blood if you can - there's a desperate shortage!)
In between everything else I have been impatiently checking the trees every day. They are mostly still green. It has just started to get a little chilly around here, so I imagine they will soon begin their last hurrah of brilliant colors before winter sets in. Desperate for a color fix, I revisited photos I took while visiting The Gates last year, in Central Park.
The Gates was an art installation by the husband and wife team of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The artists first conceived the idea for The Gates in 1979 and asked the City of New York for permission to install the work. Permission denied. Denied, denied, denied. They finally got permission from the new Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, in 2002.
We went to see the installation on a beautiful February day in 2005, after a new snowfall. We started off by going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we enjoyed a rooftop view of The Gates crisscrossing through 23 miles of trails in Central Park. What was astonishing was how crowded the park was! So many people strolling the park, enjoying the day and the artwork in the middle of the winter.
We spent the afternoon walking The Gates. Everyone in the park was smiling, friendly and in awe of this magnificent project - it felt like a party. I think NYC sorely needed a project like this - it brought a little fun and wonder to a city that had been grieving since 9/11. I think the art did not consist solely of The Gates - I think there was a synergistic effect of the installation and the visitors. It was not like a museum, where visitors go to look at artwork. I think in this case, the visitors were an integral part of the artwork. I think the ephemeral nature of the installation also added to this feeling of excitement - it was not something you could go back to. There was only a two week window for this exhibit. We were very fortunate to experience The Gates.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, go - and don't forget to post photos for the rest of us!