Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Swing Closed "The Gates"

This is the part of the program where I look like a classless redneck philistine.

What the hell is going on with The Gates? Surely you know the art installation of which I speak... It's the series of orange curtain-type things that wend their way through Central Park in New York City.

Get the full experience here: http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/tg.html

In the midst of all the breathless reviews, I found this one that absolutely captured my thoughts on the subject:

rmk28: "Art? What is the difference between the washermen (the dhobi) in Varanasi, India, who hang a river of bright saris to dry along the banks of the Ganges, at one millionth of the cost, and Christo's orange laundry? To paraphrase Andy Warhol, Art is my friend in Brooklyn."

I had a similar moment my junior year of college when the movie "My Own Private Idaho" was screened on campus. I went to the movie with a bunch of friends who absolutely gushed at its conclusion about "how meaningful" and "what a tour de force" it was. I just kind of thought it was weird and boring.

Same with The Gates. I don't get it. Perhaps that makes me a misanthropic neanderthal? Perhaps that makes me stupid? I don't know. I don't get the appeal of 7,500 orange curtains in what is already a beautiful park. It doesn't seem artistic to me; I just kind of think it is weird and boring.

Artistes of the world, the phone lines are open for your flames...


Anonymous said...

OK - I'll bite and flame you...how come many folks think that it isn't art unless it hangs in a gallery with a nice gold frame? Can't you open your mind a bit and enjoy some dots of color in an otherwise drab landscape this time of year? What is art? Well, *to me* art is something that illicits emotion - and why take art so seriously that that emotion can't simply be amusement? Just my $.02.

Anonymous said...

I'll bite too. Art is subjective. I prefer The Gates to the heavy, thousand year old drab oil paintings that encrust stuffy museum walls. Finding art in public and surprising places can be far more inspiring and provocative than the hum-drum of everyday life. This project was about decades spent overcoming bureaucracy (one might argue you'd be a fan for this reason alone!), temporary alteration of time and space, and a multisensory experience for those on foot and from above. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Raine said...

I don't get the art behind "The Gate." It looks like a bunch of giant orange boxers, flapping in the wind. Pardon mois, but it is my opinion, not art. It seems the only deeper value to flapping laundry could likely only be found with a valiant dose of marijuana or zoomers (neither one of which I have used, nor plan to).
To me, art is something that exists on the apparent level, and on the deeper, less apparent level.

Orange laundry doesn't seem to have a less apparent level... it's just a bunch of orange cloth, flapping in the wind. If it had been a vivid red, or perhaps a different sigil on every piece of cloth, then perhaps there would be something to pique my interest.

But I guess, it all is subjective. To each your own.

Miko said...

I've gotta stick up for the Gates. It hurts no one; it's stimulated the exonomy; it's lifted spirits in a dark grey month; and what's more, it's a legitimate work of art.

I think the trouble is not the Gates, but mass media. The Gates is a piece of environmental art, so by definition, you have to be there to do any evaluation or appreciation of it. You're supposed to be looking at it in context, noting how it interacts with the sensory elements in the environment, hearing the banners flap in the wind, seeing the fabric reflect orange light on people, watching how other people's behavior is changed by this installation.

Mass media lets everyone look at it on TV and say "WTF?" But seeing it on TV or in photos is materially different from actually being there.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that this reminds me of "The Cornfield" of my native Columbus, Ohio. The city of Dublin, a suburb, dumped thousands of dollars to pay an artist to put up a field of 6 foot tall concrete ears of corn. All I can say is that I still don't get it.