Playing Doctor

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Wednesday, February 16

Uncynical Wednesdays: The Gates

Everyone seems to be talking about Christo’s The Gates. Even here in the south I hear people talking about it. Almost uniformly there’s distain for the project. As if Central Park is some starlet whom everyone loves, now sullying herself with some ne’er-do-well.

The principle objection seems to be ‘Is that worth Twenty-One Million Dollars?”

The answer is straightforward: “Yes. At least to the couple who paid for it.”

But of course, they are not asking about the economic sense of worth. A bit surprising since movie grosses are now given more press than movie reviews. (Or maybe that is exactly their point, and I’m the one who’s missing it.)

They are talking, I guess, about its artistic value. I’m going out on a limb here, but I have heard New Yorkers complaining about The Gates. They talk about Central Park so eloquently, waxing poetic on its beauty, how it’s a haven from the city, how much they appreciate it.

I submit that this is the real value of The Gates: Calling attention to the Beauty and Wonder all around us.

After it’s gone, Central Park will be new again. I suppose you could compare it to a near-death experience.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Nietzsche quotes:
‘I don’t like it.’-Why?-‘I am not up to it.’-Has anyone ever answered like that?


Blogger dan writes:

I don't see what the big deal was. They were a pretty shade of orange and they were temporary. Sure, they were a little on the simple side conceptually, and I'm sure $21M could be spent more productively, but how cool that something on that large a scale can be done anywhere at all? Man, Newyorkers are some persnickety bitches.


Blogger Molly writes:

Hey Doc,
I agree with you - the presence of something new makes you nortice all over again the beauty of your everyday surroundings. I saw photos of the gates, and I thought they were wonderful. I'm not a fan of all of Christo and Jeanne-Calude's work, but this one was beautiful. Thanks for the quote, too.


Blogger Bewareoftheblog writes:

The Gates are great in that they have sparked this true debate/discussion about their worth as art. It's been too long since art has been noticed this way. The fact that nobody seems to know if its art, or not, or whatever it is, makes it all worth the 21 grand fer sure.


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