Friday, March 04, 2005

The Gates

Just wanted to say a word about Christo's installation in NYC this winter...

Yes, the color of the gates' cloth was a wonderful warm orange, evocative of monks' robes and orange fruit. It brought people out, it made people talk to each other, it jarred people from the routine.

Look at this lovely picture by an anonymous photographer. Very much captures the sense of the piece from afar. But you won't see too many photos of the suitable-for-bridges support structures. The grace and lightness of the cloth was almost negated by the rather ugly, squat supports.

From a distance, they were so inviting. Come and walk under! But once I was into the path of swaying orange, it all seemed so far above me. I could not reach the cloth, and all I saw around me were the I-beam supports. Get the idea of affixing your diamond earrings with gaffer's tape. Imagine wearing a white silk evening gown and slipping your feet into hiking boots. Ghastly.

I wanted the gates to feel like Japanese torii. Seeing the preliminary sketches, I thought that Christo's project would generate the same magic as the gates in Kyoto and elsewhere in Japan. To walk beneath a row of brilliant torii... now there's wonder, delicacy, and grace.

After an hour squinting with the gates, I got back on the train in time to hop in my car and drive to another Princeton Club Hockey game in Vineland, NJ. Did they beat Wagner College that day? I believe so.

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