Wolfgang Volz

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Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Gates: Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005 (Taschen Basic Art Series)
by Wolfgang Volz
Publisher's Description
In February 2005, Christo and Jeanne-Claude will complete a monumental work of art in New York City's Central Park. The project, first conceived in 1979, will feature 7500 16-foot-high vinyl gates lining the park's paths, from which will hang saffron-colored fabric panels. Seen from the buildings surrounding the park, The Gates will look like a golden, flowing river, while those walking through them will experience the ambience of a fluid, golden ceiling.

Financed entirely by the artists through their C.V.J. Corporation, The Gates are to be fabricated and assembled in local factories and installed by local workers, thus providing employment for thousands of New York City residents. The temporary work of art will remain in place for 16 days, after which it will be disassembled and the materials recycled. The installation will be free for all visitors, who can continue to use Central Park undisturbed during the whole process.

This historic event is intended to provide a memorable and joyous experience for every New Yorker, and TASCHEN will document this project from start to finish in two editions. A first edition will be published in January 2005, containing photo documents and preparatory drawings for The Gates. In February 2005, directly after the installation has been realized, a second edition will be published, containing 32 extra pages showing photographs of the completed work of art.
Amazon.com Review
Famous for massive public art projects, including "Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet" in Australia and "Running Fence" in Northern California, Christo Javacheff and his wife Jeanne-Claude were used to dealing with intransigent bureaucracies. But they hadn't reckoned with New York City. The couple's 1979 project--temporarily placing thousands of saffron-colored banners across the walkways of 843-acre Central Park--did not receive the city's blessing until 2003. Published in advance of the 16-day installation in February 2005, Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Gates is a picture book that moves briskly from photographs of early presentations and hearings to numerous shots of workers assembling the steel, aluminum, vinyl and rip-stop nylon components of the piece.

Scattered throughout are many of Christo's vibrant color sketches of "The Gates," which were conceived to create a "golden river" suggestive of autumn foliage when viewed from neighboring buildings and a "golden ceiling" for walkers and joggers in the park. The banners billow in the breeze, like sheets on a clothesline. While the early drawings show long banners hung from spindly black frames driven into the earth, the final design had to be modified so that it wouldn't touch low-hanging tree branches or poke holes in the ground. In the final version, 16-foot banners hang from sturdy aluminum bases covered in orange vinyl and placed at 12-foot intervals along 23 miles of walkways. The most recent drawings are especially radiant, showing the orange banners against a wintry setting of leafless trees. However, the decision to install "The Gates" in February—typically a dead time for tourism in the city—was likely driven by more than artistic effect. Taschen plans to publish a second edition of this book, with an additional 32 pages showing the final installation of "The Gates." Perhaps the publisher will also add much-needed artistic and socio-political context about the development of this project and how it compares with the artists' other work. --Cathy Curtis
ISBN: 382282805X
Publisher: Taschen
Paperback : 95 pages
Language: English
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