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Very belatedly: The Gates

with 2 comments

Kept meaning to write something caustic about The Gates, and just never got around to it. Maybe this is the problem – not provocative enough to hate, detest, run home and shrill about… Just there…

Hal Foster seems to agree. And he even must have overheard the conversation my wife and I had about it as a index of the banal benevolence of the powers-that-be in the City toward happy art – and complete lack of tolerance when it comes to ugly political protest…

The Gates
made for friendly city politics and nice holiday
aesthetics, and no one can be against sociability in the park. Yet for
what exactly was this festival of the people staged? The Gates
prettied up an extraordinary public place, but the fanfare was empty of
social consequence: the city blocked a demonstration against the
Republican Convention in the park, but gave a green light to Christo.
Out of one eye, then, I saw an enjoyable mass art event; out of the
other, a telling instance of high kitsch in the Bloomberg-Bush era, a
cross between the Yellow Brick Road and a grand opening where the
packaging was literally all.

Written by adswithoutproducts

March 8, 2005 at 11:17 pm

Posted in Art

2 Responses

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  1. Which says a lot about the value of the Christo piece as art doesn’t it? I mean if art is supposed to be provocative and edgy pushing us just a little beyond our own boundaries so that we see things (ourselves, our society, our world) in a different way. Going by that definition I’d say the Gates might’ve been a nice meditation piece, but your post makes me think maybe it wasn’t art.


    March 9, 2005 at 12:55 am

  2. Thanks for the comment, Barb…
    Not that I like to get too rigid about these things, but my sense is that for art to be worthy of the title, there needs to be a little resistance going on, some friction…
    And even in terms of a “meditation piece,” I imagine that the most condusive angle in that regard would be from the high hotel rooms and apartments that line the park… Walking around the park, I couldn’t get past the idea that it was made for the people in the “good seats,” not me/us…


    March 9, 2005 at 1:24 am

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