Sunday, January 02, 2005

Christo Wraps Again!

Le Pont Neuf, Paris, 1985

I would love to see the Maysles Brothers film, Christo in Paris, documenting the impressive ten year journey leading up to the successful wrapping of Le Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris. There's always been something curiously infectious about Christo's vision and spirit that draws in both the volunteers who help to make his dreams come true, as well as the visitors who make the pilgrimage to marvel at the finished sight.

And now, Christo, and his wife and partner, Jeanne-Claude, are about to begin work on their newest challenge: The Gates, the largest public art installation in the history of the city of New York. Consisting of some 7,500 gates, gaily dressed with saffron-yellow fabric panels along 23 miles of pedestrian walkways in Central Park, The Gates will only be on view for 16 days. Twenty-six years after its initial conception and many revisions later, the project has drawn 1,100 loyal and enthusiastic workers from 45 states. As always, the artists are providing their own financial backing for the project, estimated to cost $20 million, much of it raised through the sale of Christo's artwork, including preparatory drawings for the project.

The New York Times reports that Each worker gets a special "Gates" uniform (to keep) designed by Christo. Jeanne-Claude declined to describe it, saying she was afraid that if she did, there would be a rash of knockoffs for sale. And, you know, I'm sure she's right. I know I certainly would like one!