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Letter from the Mayor

About The Gates

About Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Their Own Words

About Central Park

Visual Arts Organizations Near Central Park

Images from The Gates

Photos of Other Christo Works

Press Information and Additional Resources

Official The Gates Merchandise

Download Guide to The Gates

Download Map of The Gates



Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Their Own Words

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Question: How did you conceive of The Gates?
Answer: Our aspiration to create a major public work of art for New York began when we emigrated from Europe in 1964. During the 1970s, while creating projects elsewhere but continuing to live and work in New York, we remained committed to succeeding in completing a major outdoor work of art in the City. Our attention turned toward the vast flow of people walking through the streets. The resulting proposal was The Gates, a project directly related to the human scale, to be sited in Central Park, whose 843 acres are the ultimate locale for walking at leisure. First proposed in 1979, The Gates were then 12 feet tall, of a totally different design, and the first drawing was titled The Thousand Gates. The project was rejected in 1981 but ultimately approved on January 22, 2003 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, for completion in February 2005.


Question: The Gates, like all of your work, is temporary and public. Why do you choose to create temporary public art?

Answer: The temporary quality of the projects is an aesthetic decision. Our works are temporary in order to endow the works of art with a feeling of urgency to be seen, and the love and tenderness brought by the fact that they will not last. Those feelings are usually reserved for other temporary things such as childhood and our own life. These are valued because we know that they will not last. We want to offer this feeling of love and tenderness to our works, as an added value (dimension) and as an additional aesthetic quality.


Question: What is the best vantage point for appreciating The Gates?

Answer: There is no particular special vantage point to experience and enjoy walking under The Gates, on 23 miles of walkways. The succession of 7,500 gates moving capriciously in the wind, projecting on one another at different levels, sometimes hiding the buildings around the park, will reveal the serpentine design of the walkways.


Question: How do the two of you divide your efforts when approaching a project?

Answer: We do not divide our efforts, we do every thing together, except three things:

We never fly in the same aircraft.
(Jeanne-Claude) does not make drawings; she was not trained for that.
(Christo) puts our ideas on paper. He never had an assistant in his studio; he even frames his drawings himself.
(Christo) never had the pleasure of talking to our tax accountant.


Question: Why was it so important to realize this work in Central Park?

Answer: When our son was a little boy, we used to take him to Central Park every day—he loved to climb the beautiful rocks. Central Park was a part of our life.

 

For more information about The Gates and Christo and Jeanne-Claude please visit www.christojeanneclaude.net



Copyright 2007 The City of New York