Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Controversial Fiber Installation

I'm watching "The Gates" documentary on Netflix streaming right now. It is a stark example of the adversity that artists can face. Christo and Jeanne-Claude had a dream for Central Park that would span twenty six years of bureaucracy before finally becoming a reality.

Christo and Jean-Claude envisioned bringing art and color to 23 miles of walking paths in New York. Their medium? Saffron-colored vinyl, cocooned above 7,503 gates spanned across Central Park.

The documentary shows both sides of the story, those that were excited about the project, and those that were vehemently opposed. Ironically, the main thing people complained about was the cost, $25 million dollars. Ironic because it cost the people of New York nothing, Christo and Jean-Claude financed the whole project personally. They accepted no sponsorships or donations. This was THEIR money to spend.

Many others were angry, saying the park was about nature and that it was beautiful on it's own. (Ignoring the fact that the installation was during the bleak months of winter when all that could be seen was dead grass, mud and dirty snow.) Also, the park was not harmed by the installation - not a single hole was dug into the ground!

This was back in 2005. If only they were doing the installation now! They paid all of their workers, and also provided them with breakfast and a hot meal each day. They also created more jobs during the duration, by hiring security teams to patrol the park after dark.

It amazes me that people in a city full of skyscrapers, concrete, steel, parking garages, and a 150 foot metal woman with a torch, could be so opposed to an art installation! Would they have been as opposed if an artist wanted to display 7,503 paintings in the park?

I guess it's human nature to reject anything you personally don't find "appealing" or "attractive", but at the same time always expect acceptance for something YOU want or like! Food for thought!

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