Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Gates and other modern art

As part of my on-going missions is to bring the world of modern dance and art to my friends and family I introduce you to Christo and Jeanne-Claude, a husband and wife team of artists who develop HUGE installation pieces around the world. Christo and Jeanne-Claude are best known for their wrapped pieces...basically they go around the world and wrap big stuff...the Reichstag, trees, etc...

Yesterday, in Central Park, Christo and Jeanne-Claude began installation of their newest piece "The Gates" http://christojeanneclaude.net/tg.html#anchor

"The Gates" encompasess a series of steel gates (duh!) from whence saffron colored sheets of fabric will be suspended. The gates will line approximately 23 miles of Central Park's trails and will range in size from 5' 6" to 18 feet. The instillation of the piece will run from Jan. 3 - Feb. 12. The Gates will then be up in the city for 16 days. The total cost of the piece is $20 million and is completely self-financed. Try to catch a gander of the installation if you plan to be in the city at any point and time in the next two months.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude's next piece will entail wrapping the Arkansas River in Colorado under miles of semi-translucent fabric.

On a slightly different bent, the International Center for Photography (ICP) is running an interesting exhibit on the identify and implications of whiteness http://www.icp.org/exhibitions/white/index.html. The exhibit runs until Feb. 27th. I had a chance to catch the show over the weekend. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about the exhibit. It was interesting on many levels. First and foremost, this is the first exhibit of its kind - examining the white race utilizing themes traditionally only used by blacks, asians, latinos etc... On the one hand, it's interesting that at this time in history someone would even consider pulling together an exhibit of this nature. What are the implications? Well, the first thing that jumps to mind is that it is a positive step in breaking down the assumption that because the white race is the "dominant" race in this country and its influence so pervasive, it does not need to be examined. The mere existance of the show is a clear indicator (well, at least to me) that the assumption that "white is right" is no longer true. The white race is quickly losing its hold on the racial mix of the US and the community is now finally starting to realize it must question itself within the context of American culture. I also had the great fortune of attending the show with a white friend and getting his perspective on the topic.

And while you're at the ICP...check out the Ralph Eugene Meatyard http://www.icp.org/exhibitions/meatyard/index.html exhibit downstairs. What a wonderful surprise.

Oh...modern art...how yummy!

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