Bulgaria-Born Christo Celebrates Freedom in The Gates

Society | November 24, 2004, Wednesday // 00:00
Bulgaria-Born Christo Celebrates Freedom in The Gates A Met exhibit shows what the much-debated Gates Project in Central Park would look like when it opens next February. Photo by nypost.com

Bulgaria-born artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, famous for wrapping Germany's Reichstag in fabric, are to install 23 miles of saffron-colored fabric gates in Central Park after winning a long-drawn-out battle with the city council of New York.

"All our work is about freedom," the artists said in a statement, addressing critiques over the impermanence of their work.

The two artists take pride in the fact the nobody can possess their projects, "nobody can sell tickets to experience the projects".

"Freedom is the enemy of possession and possession is equal to permanence. That is why our projects cannot remain and must go away forever. Our projects are 'once-in-a-lifetime' and 'once upon a time.'"

The idea for " The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979 to 2005," project dates back to 1968. Over the years Christo and Jeanne-Claude sought unsuccessfully the support of four successive New York mayors, but it was at the beginning of April this year that Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is a patron of the arts, greenlighted it.

Beginning next month, 7,500 16-foot metal frames will be erected throughout the park at 15-foot intervals. The fabric will be installed on Feb. 12, 2005, the artists said, and will remain until Feb. 27.

The artists are to pay for the costs related to the project and make a USD 3 M donation to the city.

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