Cristo and Jeanne-Claude: Through The Gates and Beyond by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan.
Roaring Brook Press/Holtzbrinck Publishing : NY, 2008.

The main focus of this book is Cristo and Jeanne-Claude's process of constructing their large scale art projects, which are as much a managerial achievement and public discourse as they are artwork. The Gates in New York's Central Park are their most recent temporary display. For 2 weeks in 2006, The Gates (7503 orange, rectangular arches with free-flowing fabric) stood along the paths of the park. The project was proposed in 1979 and was 26 years in the making.

A short history of the artists' work is given, as well as the next 2 upcoming projects: the Arkansas River Project, CO and The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi for the United Arab Emirates. For the Arkansas River Project, forty miles of the river will have a silvery fabric ceiling, temporarily. The Mastaba will be a huge structure made of oil drums, taller than the largest pyramid at Giza.

Although orange would not have been a color I would choose, The Gates would have been exciting to experience. A splash of color in the New York winter, the fabric flowing with the wind, crowds of people sharing the experience. If I had known it was happening, it might have been a reason to visit New York. I think it would have been amazing to see from above, maybe from some nearby skyscrapers. I would have liked to have seen the fabric rippling. I'm sure many people view the artists' projects as stunts, but I find them intriguing. They require public discussion and agreement before they can be constructed, and they are a shared public experience. The magnitude is amazing for their self-imposed temporary events.

I was first introduced to the artists' work in college. The Surrounded Islands of Biscayne Bay, FL had been a recent project. They were controversial then, too. I liked the idea, but I don't think I knew at the time what they were trying to accomplish.

Something else I would like to have seen was The Umrellas, Japan and California in 1991. 3100 umbrellas, 19 ft 8 in high and 28 ft in diameter, split between the two locations.

Greenberg and Jordan's book is a great introduction to Cristo and Jeanne-Claude's art projects. The pictures are wonderful, of course, and the process towards completion is enlightening.

Searching for pictures online, I found a community blog of The Gates event. Unfortunately, I didn't find many more pictures, other than the posters for sale.

related-artwork and artists, public events RL=4th and up

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