Open yourself to ‘The Gates’ |

Open yourself to ‘The Gates’

People with only one name or initials such as Arnold, F.D.R., Madonna or J.F.K. elicit immediate recognition. This name-power is held by Christo. The artist, with his wife, Jeanne-Claude, have created spectacular art works such as the 24 mile-long “Running Fence” (1976) that cross portions of Marin and Sonoma counties with an 18 foot tall white nylon fabric curtain; surrounding 11 islands in Florida (1983) with a pink polypropylene blanket, and the “Wrapped Reichstag” (1995) in Berlin.

Now, in New York Central Park, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have presented their latest creation, “The Gates” (Feb. 12-27, 2005). At their own expense, $20 million, and with the help of hundreds of volunteers, 7,532 two-legged frames, 16-feet tall and up to 18 feet wide were installed with no physical impact on the park environment.

From the top of frames, 9 feet of saffron-colored rip-stop nylon fabric were draped. Some 23 miles of park paths were treated to this fantastically beautiful art show. The curtains wave gently or violently in the sometime swirling, often laminar, always quixotic breezes that greet visitors to the 800-plus acre park. The final perfect touch was the 6 inch snowfall on Feb. 20 which seemed to declare “This is how the gates were meant to be seen.” And seen they were! Thousands came to marvel. Two inch square swatches of the yellow-orange material were handed out by the many upbeat volunteers.

The ‘Gates’ are now closed, but other wonderful projects are being planned – be sure to treat yourself to the next “Christo” experience.


Roger Dodge lives in Penn Valley and enjoyed his Christo experience.

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