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Christo & Jeanne-Claude: The Gates Paperback – February 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Famous for massive public art projects, including "Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet" in Australia and "Running Fence" in Northern California, Christo Javacheff and his wife Jeanne-Claude were used to dealing with intransigent bureaucracies. But they hadn't reckoned with New York City. The couple's 1979 project--temporarily placing thousands of saffron-colored banners across the walkways of 843-acre Central Park--did not receive the city's blessing until 2003. Published in advance of the 16-day installation in February 2005, Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Gates is a picture book that moves briskly from photographs of early presentations and hearings to numerous shots of workers assembling the steel, aluminum, vinyl and rip-stop nylon components of the piece.

Scattered throughout are many of Christo's vibrant color sketches of "The Gates," which were conceived to create a "golden river" suggestive of autumn foliage when viewed from neighboring buildings and a "golden ceiling" for walkers and joggers in the park. The banners billow in the breeze, like sheets on a clothesline. While the early drawings show long banners hung from spindly black frames driven into the earth, the final design had to be modified so that it wouldn't touch low-hanging tree branches or poke holes in the ground. In the final version, 16-foot banners hang from sturdy aluminum bases covered in orange vinyl and placed at 12-foot intervals along 23 miles of walkways. The most recent drawings are especially radiant, showing the orange banners against a wintry setting of leafless trees. However, the decision to install "The Gates" in February—typically a dead time for tourism in the city—was likely driven by more than artistic effect. Taschen plans to publish a second edition of this book, with an additional 32 pages showing the final installation of "The Gates." Perhaps the publisher will also add much-needed artistic and socio-political context about the development of this project and how it compares with the artists' other work. --Cathy Curtis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

The Collector’s Edition is limited to 5,000 copies, signed and numbered by Christo and Jeanne-Claude and Wolfgang Volz. • Each copy comes with a 24 x 24 cm (9.4 x 9.4 in.) piece of the fabric used for the work of art • Contains 104 preparatory drawings and collages, as well as 900 important documents, engineering drawings, technical data, maps, and 1,441 photographs from 1979 to 2005. • The third volume in our Christo and Jeanne-Claude collector’s series, complementing Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, and The Umbrellas, Japan–USA. Christo and Jeanne-Claude, both born on June 13, 1935, have been working in collaboration since 1961. Previous large-scale projects include Wrapped Coast, Australia, 1968–69, Valley Curtain, Grand Hogback, Rifle, Colorado, 1970–72, Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972–76, Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980–83, The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975–85, The Umbrellas, Japan–USA, 1984–91, Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971–95, Wrapped Trees, Riehen, Switzerland, 1997–98. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen; Revised edition (February 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3822842427
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822842423
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.4 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,556,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Melanie Gilbert VINE VOICE on June 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
The images in this book are all that remain of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Central Park outdoor art exhibit, The Gates, a massive, stunning and unforgettable project that was dismantled forever on Sunday, February 27, 2005, after a two-week run. This photographic chronicle is interspersed with prototype drawings and designs as well as reflections of the artists as they brought their project to life. Through "The Gates'" the couple created an artistic representation of two of our oldest cultural and religious totems: the myth of Hades and Persephone and that of Moses and the Burning Bush.

The photos of a snow-covered Central Park in February with the naked, brown-grey trees - which lack depth but somehow yield shadows - reminded me of Hades; the orange gates reminded me of Persephone and her fateful pomegranates. Winter will yield to spring which will eventually yield right back to winter. Other photographs bring to mind the Biblical story of Moses with the orange gates looking like bushes blazing cross Central Park.

The story of rebirth and redemption is expressed in literature and was exquisitively expressed in this outdoor art. Both stories, and about 4 million others based on crowd attendance figures, were told across Central Park for 16 short, sweet days. If you didn't have the personal experience, at least have the faithfully recorded one. And definitely plan on seeing their next art installation, Over The River, Project For Arkansas River, Colorado, (date tba) in person. You won't forget it or regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Stoddard on October 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Excellent collection of images of his most interesting completed works; Valley Curtain, Surrounded Islands, Running Fence, Umbrellas and the Gates. Also, some images from the upcoming Over the River project. Images are printed full size on large heavy stock and are suitable for framing. A brief project description is on the back of each sheet. Strongly recommended for any fan of Christo's work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judith G on April 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was mad at myself for not going to New York to see this exhibit.
This book helped me to be there.
I promised myself not to miss the next exhibit.
When you think about how they go about putting together an exhibit, Christo & Jeanne-Claude are phenomenal!
This book will show you that.
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By Marc Meyer, Jr. on July 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
Great book, arrived safely packaged well.A+++
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Emma Scott on November 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This item is a gift. I have not opened and examined it fully.
It appears to be as advertised but I can't give you definitive review now.
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