Monday, February 14, 2005

Christo's _The Gates_

hello, read me, Houston?

Hopefully this orange font will be readable. I m picking this orange colored font in honor of Christo. Well, the official color is 'saffron' and I'm not enough of an artist to discern from the color palette on this screen.

I'm still inept with technology with digital camera and blogger. Need to make more time. I'm sure you've seen pictures of the Gates on the news, internet, bloggers, etc.

So far, I've visited _The Gates_ twice over the weekend. I saw the unfurling which is the best part. Debra and I arrived at the Columbus Circle entrance of the CP just before the unfurling. It was astounding. 23 miles of arches around the park, covering nearly every path. The arches matched the width of the path - there were wide arches and narrow ones. Very meticulous work! The Unfurling took just over 2 hours to complete with different teams unfurling each and every arch in the 23 miles of paths and some streets. According to AM New York, there are 7,500 16 foot high arch/frames on 23 mile long paths. Each worker/volunteer/vip was accompanied by a team of gawpers, photographers, tv cameras and the masses inched along the path. Each time the unfurl occurred, there was a movement that Deb and I dubbed 'the gates dance' because there was wrapping around each orange material that would unfurl and a long cylinder made of cardboard that fell out as the material unfurled. Once the wrapping and the cardboard dropped to the ground, the unlucky vip/volunteer/worker would skip, jump back or move once the items crashed to the ground. Sometimes a wind would change direction of the drop. After the first drop, the crowd wisely backed away to give room.

Deb and I met with two other people, and we walked around the southern portion of the park looking at unfurled arches or arches that hadn't unfurled. Took some good pictures, even caught some of unfurling in action. We reached a fork in the path and noticed one woman had just unfurled the arch at the fork. We made a bet over a pretzel in which path the worker would proceed. I chose the left one and the two others chose the right path. The worker proceeded to the left (to my delight) but one friend intervened, asking it would be better to take the one on the right. The worker hesitated. I was signing furiously that the bet is forfeit. Then the genius friend who initiated the bet, intervened also. I was standing uphill above her and gave her a small nudge on her backside with my foot. The worker then decided to proceed with the original destination she had in mind - the left path (my path!). The genius bought me a pretzel :).

We got the swatches which was great - a vinyl like material. Debra and I wandered around and went to a visitor center where we bought poster of the sketches Christo and Jeanne-Claude made.

The next day (Sunday), I went to the MET with two other friends to have a look from the rooftop. It wasn't as impressive as we thought it would be as the rooftop isn't high enough to see the whole park. We walked through the park and eventually found a friend of ours who was on shift to monitor the orange drapes on the arches. He had a retractable pole with a tennis ball on top. Some nasty wind would twist the drape around the frame and the friend would retract the pole to the proper height and using the tennis ball (soft enough to not to scrape the material) and unwound the drape. Two most common questions he got from people: "Do you have the swatches?" Or, "What is the tennis ball for?" Being a nice guy, he was very patient with the repeated questions.

I'm not sure if I ll return to the park often.. the unfurling was the show. The saffron colored drape contrasted brightly against the winter dead lawns, plants, and trees. It really uplifted our depressed (or repressed?) winter mood. Sunday was more crowded with people as opposed to Saturday. The weather was warmer and there was constant sunshine. We'd bump into, trip over, or walk through attempted picture taking.

It's not often we have opportunities to see Christo's work in action. Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude had been asking NYC since 1979 to do the project. They were rejected each year out of concern for safety,etc etc until Bloomberg gave them the green (or saffron?) light in 2002 or 2003. It's estimated that NYC tourism would rack in $8 million in 2 weeks - hotels, starbucks, pretzel vendors, and so on would benefit. The art duo through their numerous signs and attachments to merchandise insisted that they will NOT get the proceeds. The proceeds would go to the NYC parks and arts. $21 million came out of their pockets (and a mother in law) without corporate sponsorship.

If you're in NYC area from today to the 27th, for the love of Christo, GO!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going!

2/14/2005 5:09 PM  

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