A sample of the material used in Christo’s Gates
Last week, I visited Christo’s latest artwork, The Gates, in New York’s Central Park, and went to a party some friends were throwing to celebrate the arrival of the installation.
The scrap of material was handed to me by one of the workers whom I approached after a discussion with my friends, where I asked, half-joking, whether it would be legitimate to restore any of the “curtains” to their original free-hanging state if they accidentally became wrapped around the crossbar by a gust of wind or a wild flap.
A view of Christo’s Gates at dawn
(courtesy James Bradburne)
It turned out that it was this (paid, as it turns out) worker’s job to do just that – answering my question conclusively. While we were talking to her, much to our surprise and delight, she reached into a pouch and brought out some swatches of the material for everyone in our group.
A view of Christo’s Gates billowing in the wind
(courtesy Patrick Burns)
I later learned that Christo had ordered a million of these samples for curious visitors, so they are hardly rare. But, as I found out trying to scan and colour-correct the one above, the fabric seems to contain a variety of colours as it shimmers in the light. It will remind me – more vividly than a photo ever could – of a glorious, epic weekend in the park.
If you have any thoughts about the Gates, visit the Gates Memory Project blog and contribute to The Gates: An Experiment in Collective Memory, which “will be online and constantly evolving according to the contributions, suggestions and innovations of participants”.