Net Present Value: The Gates unveiled in Central Park

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Gates unveiled in Central Park

Artists and collaborators Christo and Jeanne-Claude today unveiled their newest landscape-altering project, The Gates which is comprised of 7,500 16-feet high gates with saffron-colored fabric panels unfurled from the top stretched along some 23 miles of walkways in New York's Central Park. According to this New York Times story (registration required):

The $20 million project was originally conceived by the artists in 1979 and was rejected by three mayoral administrations before Mr. Bloomberg's, in part because of concerns about its cost and about damage to the park.

The mayor, who first became interested in the notion of "The Gates" in 1995 as a trustee of the Central Park Conservancy, made light of the project's long history yesterday, saying that it took Michelangelo four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and Beethoven five years to write the Ninth Symphony. "Mere blinks of an eye," he said, "compared to the time that it took to build the masterpiece that we are celebrating today."

..."It has no purpose," Jeanne-Claude said. "It is not a symbol. It is not a message. It is only a work of art."

...After answering several questions, however, Christo became clearly frustrated by trying to explain his work and emphatically urged experience over rational inquiry. "This project is not involved with talk," he said. "It is real physical space. You need to spend time walking in the cold air - sunny day, rainy day, even snow. It is not necessary to talk."

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