Central Park

NYC Parks Celebrates A Decade Since Unveiling The Gates In Central Park, Looks Forward To Art In Parks In 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015
No. 11

Today, Thursday, February 12, NYC Parks celebrates the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of the unforgettable, beloved exhibit The Gates in Central Park. Open to the public a decade ago today, The Gates attracted approximately four million visits to the Park in only 16 days. Created by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the temporary installation consisted of 7,500 gates bearing hanging saffron-colored fabric panels, lining 23 miles of pedestrian paths in Central Park.

Throughout December, eight trucks a day entered the park carrying the 15,000 steel bases that would be used to support the gates. Assembled in Queens over the course of two months, building the gates was no easy feat. Central Park Conservancy and NYC Parks worked closely with the artists to ensure that the exhibit was carefully installed in areas with low concentrations of wildlife. 25 years in the making, The Gates were a defining moment in Central Park’s history and left a lasting impression on those fortunate enough to have visited.

In 2004, Christo and Jeanne-Claude were quoted as saying, “All our work is about freedom. Nobody can buy our projects, nobody can sell tickets to experience our 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 artists also donated $3 million to the City for programs and operations both in Central Park and in other City parks.

“The Gates was one of those moments in history you never forget” says Doug Blonsky, President and CEO of Central Park Conservancy. “It was an amazing feat of artistic vision, political will and engineering expertise…and it worked! Especially in the wake of 9/11, The Gates was an experience that brought millions of people together and gave them joy when they needed it most.”

Parks remains committed in its dedication to display public art in the City’s parks. The magnificence of The Gates is a reminder of how art can reframe and renew our perceptions of even the most familiar and famous public spaces, and how important it is to offer New Yorkers and visitors an opportunity to access works of art. 2015 will be no exception, with incredible exhibits year round.

At Tappen Park on Staten Island, you can find DB Lampman’s The Dance, inspired by Henri Matisse’s painting of the same name. The Dance consists of five ethereal figures floating 15 feet above the ground. Formed with steel and wrapped in nylon, the figures hold hands and dance within a rectangular steel structure, and at night, they light up and cast a glow around the neighboring trees. The Dance will be on display through September 2015.

And visit Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to check out Tree of Life, a a sculpture created by an international team of seven artists who worked closely Van Cortlandt Park’s naturalists to identify specific invertebrates that are native to the area. The artists used this information to create artistic interpretations of the specimens, which are attached to a 12 foot tree-like structure, and can be viewed until June 2015.

Coming up this year, Parks will offer everything from sculptures to crystal balls. Paula Hayes’ Gazing Globes in Madison Square Park will open in February and feature 18 hand blown glass orbs that hold the detritus of contemporary culture, including used batteries, computer parts, and other remnants of technology sprinkled with fairy dust made of pulverized CDs. Gazing Globes will open this month and be displayed through April 2015.

Also opening in March this year will be Desire Lines, a sculpture by French artist Tatiana Trouvé to be installed at the southeast entrance to Central Park. The piece is composed of three massive custom-fabricated industrial shelving units containing 212 wooden spools wound with varying lengths and colors of rope. The relative lengths of the ropes correspond exactly to the 212 select pathways that wind through Central Park. Desire Lines will be on display through August 2015.

For a complete list of current and upcoming exhibits in NYC Parks, go to http://www.nycgovparks.org/art.

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