February 20, 2005

TOTALITARIAN ART (via Jim Siegel):

Only Two Decades Out of Date (JAMES GARDNER, February 14, 2005, NY Sun)

Here is my verdict: The 7,500 16-foot-tall posts, covering 23 miles of the park's trails, do not seem, either singly or collectively, to possess a compelling visual interest. From a purely formalist perspective, the totalizing ambition of the work is greatly qualified by the many intervals or synapses that exist between the sequences of gates and that were necessitated by the nature of the territory.

It should be said, however, that these Gates are not ugly, as I had feared they might be, and as I have found other works by Christo to be.

The primary appeal of the Gates - more intellectual than perceptual - has always consisted in their pure stunt value, in the appreciation of the thousands of minute calibrations required to create a sense of uniformity.

The imposition of artificial uniformity in the pursuit of a totalitarian ideal is ever and always anti-American and anti-human.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 20, 2005 12:31 PM

After previously mocking the project, the Sun's editors wrote a "We Were Wrong" editorial just before this thing opened in which they praised the construction-zone-orange color as being just the perfect contrast for this time of year, etc, etc. I have to suspect they're considering a follow up: "No, We Were Right The First Time."

Posted by: David Hill, The Bronx at February 20, 2005 2:13 PM

OJ -- I agree with your comment that "The imposition of artificial uniformity in the pursuit of a totalitarian ideal is ever and always anti-American and anti-human." And I know that you and I disagree with the premise and execution of "The Gates." As for uniformity, while each of the 7,500 gates is identical, the placement throughout the topography of the park makes them not uniform at all. Interestingly enough, what is manmade and here and then gone after 16 days, draws attention to the wonder of Olmstead's creation.

Posted by: Jim Siegel at February 20, 2005 6:05 PM

Oh come on. 'Totalitarian'? That's a long bow to draw isn't it?

Don't give these morons more credit than they deserve. this art is just common or garden 'idiotarian'.

Posted by: Amos at February 20, 2005 10:30 PM

Don't give totalitarians more credit than they deserve.

Posted by: Timothy at February 21, 2005 1:35 AM

If I wanted to see Central Park filled with orange, I'd go there in October.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at February 21, 2005 2:21 PM