AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

2/28/08

The Gates: HBO documentary

The Gates

Antonio Ferrera

Albert Maysles

 

HBO: The Gates:

"In 1979, the provocative artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude approached New York City officials with a proposal to create a temporary, large-scale work of art in Central Park.
The city turned them down. Twenty-four years and several administrations later, following dozens of high-concept, high-profile works of landscape art in numerous urban and rural locations around the globe, they finally got the city's approval to complete their vision. THE GATES chronicles the decades-long struggle of Christo and Jeanne-Claude to bring their most ambitious work of art to life.
Video Premieres HBO Tuesday, February 26 at 10pm ET/PT."

 

 

This epic HBO documentary has some interesting moments that go beyond the endless scenes of flapping  orange material blowing in the wind.  The cold, which can be inferred and the two creators, Christo and his companion Jeanne-Claude talking with the same theme of, this work of art is like our children, the child we never had, becomes an enigmatic signifier at the beginning of the documentary. But as the documentary moves on the meaning of the comparision between orange material and my child now grown, becomes clear.

What is noteworthy in the documentary is how this couple has changed in appearance over the years in the making of the Gates, although their spirit and their love for each other does not appear to have waned.

The magnificent, the extraordinary effort involved in putting the Gates up, in assisting the final product is truly awesome.

But for me, beyond the process of the creation and implementation, beyond the documentary’s lack of over all voice which I applaud (done in the Fred Weissman  method of the silent camera),  is the concept of change that this work of art brings to our conscious minds.

When asked if the Gates were in response to the 911 devastation  downtown the artist immediately said, no no.  We planned all this before the plans crashed.

 But the reporter asked a question that I have thought of and without perhaps realizing it, many others have spent time either in conscious or unarticulated reaction to an   everyday experience in New York City.  . Destruction, construction is everywhere and one can not help but react.

Human Beings are not comfortable with change.

What  the Gates did, whether good or bad. is to introduce into nature a man made element that dominated what nature was and is today. Of course there  are no Gates in nature.  There is an open sweeping unending flow and orange is a color seldom seen in pastoral setting. In Central Park, mid day, it is abrasive

 Whenever we go outside and see a tree, that is now missing, flowers that have died or a plot of land once a vacant lot now the home of more condos there is a reaction to the change as if it is death.  A moment that requires us to reflect upon, to exclaim, "What happened?"

The alteration brought about by the Gates in Center Park does mirror the destruction of the world trade center buildings because it is a moment in which the feeling of annihilation posed by the crashing plans  is revisited .  Nature never asked to be so adorned and the pit in downtown Manhattan is equally out of sync with what we know and expect.

My son held his marriage in the middle of the Gates, under a bridge with the weather so cold , the ceremony so long that my feet froze almost to gang green.  So I understand that for Christo and Jeanne-Claude the love of art, as does the love of children, brings us change regardless of the personal expense but it isn’t done without nostalgic moments of “I remember when”.

Linda Z

WBAI Women’s Collective

 

 

 

 

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