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"W"rapture
All I can imagine now is sitting in the park this month admiring the silky saffron sways to the motion of the cool New York City air

Tala Dowlatshahi
February 6, 2005
iranian.com

A few years ago, I was given a print of The Gates project for Central Park, New York City. The print was a gift from a former board member of a school programme I used to help manage. The unique quality of the print was the signature by the artist himself, Christo, back in 1980, when initial design for the project began. American-Bulgarian Christo and his wife, American-French Jeanne Claude, are responsible for a series of amazing wrap works around the world. Often using materials including pencil, polyethylene, twine, charcoal, nylon, rope, pastel, crayon and photostat, the talented duo are credited for wrapping the Pont-Neuf, The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi, and the Reichstag. 

Since receiving this gift, I have spent many nights staring at the print in my kitchen in anticipation of its visible arrival to Central Park this month. It's finally happening. My obsession can now be quenched and I will be able to walk Central Park from the 12-27 of February and explore The Gates alluring "w"rapture.

The Gates project consists of over 7,500 freestanding doorway structures covered in saffron fabric. The project will span 23 miles of the park's pedestrian parkway. Young couples hand in hand, mothers and their babies in strollers and horse-carriages entertaining tourists, all will be able to consume the luxurious weaving of the doorways stretching along the barren wintery park.

This weekend, the filmmaker Albert Maysles was honored downtown on Bowery street at the Zoom In awards ceremony. His over 26-year dedication to documenting The Gates in its entire process--step by step, moment by moment, was commended by fellow documentary filmmakers and producers. In Maysles opinion, "The Gates is like a blessing on the park. And now is the time when we could really use something uplifting." 

In his book entitled "Christo," the French author Dominique G. Laporte writes of  art as a replacement for politics, claiming that the works of Christo and Jeanne Claude have "failed to appreciate fully the predictive values of their (its) utopias." He claims quite eloquently that the viewer is forced to ask himself: "What is going on underneath the draperies?"

This is particularly significant with the wrapping of the Reichstag and wrapped running fences and walls. Though the art addresses the values in recognizing conflict and war, the bound fabrics also imply the need to control the expansion of divisive forces. Perhaps New Yorkers will see these covered doorways as doors closed to ideas outside the realm of the bright, orange colors that wrap and conceal their presence. 

All I can imagine now is sitting in the park this month admiring the silky saffron sways to the motion of the cool New York City air. In illuminating and romanticizing the notions of life and art as transforming parallel concepts, Christo and Jeanne Claude will make 2005 a year to remember. 

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