I was lucky to be living in New York City in February 2005 when Christo and Jeanne-Claude unveiled their amazing project, “The Gates”. I’ve captured a few thoughts from my blog from back then..
In their quest to get us to look at the world with fresh eyes, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have wrapped things. They have wrapped magazines and storefronts, oil barrels and statues. “The Gates” was a dream that took 26 years to realize thanks to Michael Bloomberg, the mayor and a Christo and Jeanne-Claude fan.
In teams of eight, 600 workers wearing “The Gates” uniforms, were responsible for installing 100 gates per team. All workers were paid. On the day of the unfurling, I was especially struck by the sense of excitement and team spirit that I could feel coming off the team members. For me, this elevated the event from a private expression of art by two artists into a public art happening, akin to community theatre on the grandest scale. Each team was responsible for “unfurling” the orange fabric, curled up on 16 ft gates.
It was a wonderful experience to be there in the crisp early-morning New York air with a coffee from Le Pain Quotidien in one hand and my camera in the other. I spent the day with other New Yorkers roaming Central Park and feeling the wonder and inspiration of great art.
You can read more about Christo and Jeanne-Claude and their amazing art projects (including several still in progress) at http://www.christojeanneclaude.net
Note: As we were finishing this article today we heard that Jeanne-Claude passed away this afternoon in New York. She was 74 years old. Thank you so much for your gifts to the world Jeanne-Claude.