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 Februarytypically a dead time for tourism in the citywas 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 Collectors 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 collectors series, complementing Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, and The Umbrellas, JapanUSA. 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, 196869, Valley Curtain, Grand Hogback, Rifle, Colorado, 197072, Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 197276, Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 198083, The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 197585, The Umbrellas, JapanUSA, 198491, Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 197195, Wrapped Trees, Riehen, Switzerland, 199798.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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