The Making And Meaning Of Public Art

2126 words - 9 pages

Christo and Jeanne- Claude’s installation, called The Gates, one of their large scaled works, was placed at the Central Park, New York City. The work consists of over 7500 gates with saffron colored fabric panels hanging down, occupying the walkways of the park. The Gates started at the entrance to the park and its name was inspired by the openings spread throughout the stone- walls that separate the park from the city, which was also called gates by its architects. Walking through the sixteen feet tall gates, one can encounter array of varying width from six to eighteen feet. There is no discernible composition, no focal point and it does not convey any narration or illusionism. It was a successful public art event that transformed the park and the mind of its participants. While many of their installation projects takes months and years to get finalized, they all go through software and hardware phases and no project can exist without one or another.
Christo Javacheff (Bulgarian) and Jeanne-Claude Marie Denat (French) were both born on June 13, 1935 and he wanted to become an artist ever since he was six. He studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia and Fine Arts Academy in Vienna, and early influences on his artistic executions, involving extensive production technique and creating real materials in real spaces, are Russian artists Vladimir Tatlin, and El Lissitszy (Fineberg 13). Jeanne- Claude (1935- 2009) studied philosophy in University of Tunis and she says she became an artist because she married to one (The Gates). They permanently moved to NYC in 1964, some of their well-recognized works in USA are Valley Curtain in Colorado, Running Fence in California, Surrounded Islands in Florida, and The Umbrellas in California, they are all large scaled installation works. Since 1960s, Christo started visualizing large scaled projects using photomontages, thus wrapping architectures in fabrics and fasten them by ropes. It was the time when America’s social and cultural events were exposed through mass media, changing how people think, and artists were questioning how they know the things that they know. ¬
Christo and Jeanne- Claude wanted to create a work of art that is associated with human scale, which was inspired by the characters of NYC, a city that has streets filled with pedestrians. The Gates are rectangular shaped, which was inspired by the rectangular shape of the city blocks. And the fabric that attached to the structure resembles the irregular, fast flowing walkways of the city (Fineberg 177). Fabric panels are constantly moving, blown by the wind, and its translucent quality creates many different shades of color depending on the time of the day. It beautifully interacts with the nature, wind, sunlight, moonlight, snow, rain, and yet creating an artificial element that highlights the irregular silhouette of the walkways in the park. When panels are blown by the wind, it resembles the fast, zoom like, walking people on the streets....

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