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  • mandreox
    Christo will be more famous than Andy Warhol until next Sunday when his Gates in Central Park come down. This is so stupid, my 14-year- old son Ben said as I
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 20, 2005
      Christo will be more famous than Andy Warhol until next Sunday when
      his Gates in Central Park come down. "This is so stupid," my 14-year-
      old son Ben said as I took him through the Gates the night before
      their saffron fabric was unfurled. "This is a stupid waste."

      In fact, Christo makes contemporary landscape art in the tradition of
      Cadillac Ranch, Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, and Walter de
      Maria's Lightening Rods and Earth Room. Christo quotes Bronowski in a
      1979 Unmuzzled OX:

      "Man is a singular creature. He has a set of gifts which make him
      unique among the animals: so that, unlike them, he is not a figure in
      the landscape--he is a shaper of the landscape. In body and mind he
      is the explorer of nature, the ubiquitous animal, who did not find
      but made his home on every continent."

      New York was Christo's last continent. Unlike Smithson and, say,
      Michael Heizer, Christo's landscape art is temporary and often urban.
      He covered the Pont Neuf and the Reichstag and set up umbrellas in
      California and Japan. My friend David Bourdon wrote his last book on
      Christo, and Christo wrapped copies in brown paper, and David gave
      them away to friends. I've never opened mine.

      Right now today Christo is the rage. New York's just mad about
      saffron. Everybody seems to have dug out a saffron scarf or jacket or
      even sleeping bag. The saffron of The Gates oddly matches the color
      of Jeanne-Claude's hair. Isaac Mizrahi seems to have bought a swath
      from the dynamic couple: it's in his window in TriBeCa. Christo also
      cited this Bronowski passage in OX:

      "[Man's] imagination, his reason, his emotional subtlety and
      toughness, make it possible for him not to accept the environment but
      to change it. And that series of inventions, by which man from age to
      age has remade his environment, is a different kind of evolution--not
      biological, but cultural evolution. I call that brilliant sequence of
      cultural peaks `The Ascent of Man.'"
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