For 16 days this month, New York is home to Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s self-proclaimed “The Gates life.” They assure us their work is neither land art, environmental sculpture, nor a conceptual piece, and have stated, “There is no why, and it doesn’t mean anything. It is only a work of art.”
So we asked, What does The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979-2005 mean to you?
MAYA BODINGER, finance [Manhattan]; JESSICA SINDLER, publishing [Manhattan]; LUCY HEBERT, pollster [Washington, D.C.]
JS: The fact that people are talking about it and to each other—that’s huge. MB: It raises a certain awareness. People who had no idea who these artists were find out that it’s in their city, and they learn a little bit more about the art world than they normally would. LH: Yeah, ’cause a lot of people will go to a museum and be like, ya know, they’ll just say, like, “Oh, well this is an accepted artwork, so I’m gonna, like, pay homage to it,” as opposed to this where it’s more accessible, and it’s not part of the canon [laughs], which is what, ya know [laughs], contemporary art is all about, or postmodernism [laughs]. So, yeah, that word has to come in . . .
MANNY KUMAR, hairdresser [Connecticut]
Vibrancy. Just vibrancy.
MELINDA MLINAC, attorney [Manhattan]; LUCY & AVA WOYCHUK-MLINAC, students [Manhattan]
AWM: It looks like the park is under construction. MM: I’ve always liked Christo, and I loved those great hot pink mountains, but this color is too utilitarian. Otherwise, the concept is lovely. Under all this, today, we feel regal. LWM: It’s really cool, but if it was a different color, it’d be better ’cause it looks trafficky.
GRACE ANGKASA, artist [Manhattan]; INA ANGKASA BRENNAN, student [Manhattan];
IAB: It makes me feel like a picture. Like I’m in a picture. GA: It does feel like we’re inside the art! To be here so many times without it, now it seems like it’s framing the park. It’s framing the trees and the people going in and out of the color. It’s exciting to be inside a color. I guess they’re right; there really is no meaning to it; it’s just how you feel about it. IAB: And in it!
GREG MAYS, consultant [Queens]; DOUG MAYS, student [Queens]
GM: [They] knew this city needed something that would really bring people together. I know they’ve been planning for 25 years, but this time is particularly appropriate. And what better way to bring people together than for no reason at all?! DM: [shrugs]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 15, 2005