All Gates Are Open

A sample of the material used in Christo's Gates
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 taken by James Bradburne
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 taken by Patrick Burns
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”.

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