Going Past The Gates (Or, Turtle Pond, The Great Lawn, and Beyond)


Now that New York’s latest great public art experiment has come to an end (they’re tearing down the Gates as I type, attempting to remove as much as possible before the noreaster slams into the city this afternoon), I do believe that we, as a city, will miss the Gates once they’ve gone. I know, the naysayers and the critics have harped on the excessive cost and the monumental egos and utter lack of humor that Christo and Jean-Claude have displayed over this fortnight, but the art itself—the 7,500 orange rectangular frames, echoing Shinto torii gates—was, ultimately, embraced by the city.

The park will feel different without them, even though the park itself has been restored to its original condition; it seems to me that this is one of the reasons why it was only up for two weeks. Indeed, this may have been one of the whole points of the exercise. The park has changed, even though it hasn’t. And the way we interact with the park has changed, even though the park hasn’t. Art is supposed to be transformative (in more than one sense); at least on that count, the Gates have been a unqualified success.

Each visitor has their own way of interacting with this giant public sculpture; everyone brings their own experiences and filters and takes away something different from the interaction.

Click on the picture to go to a slide show of my Gates pictures—I’ve added to them since last time I posted about them.

Previous posts about the Gates: initial impressions, a friend reflects on them (first entry), and my Dad goes and photographs them in the snow.


I know how you feel. I miss them, too. I almost wish they could leave a brief stretch of them in a permanent installation somewhere.

But that's not in the spirit of Christo's obsession with ephemera and living "in the moment."

The Gates live on via the video and gallery at http://www.PastTheGates.com

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