Yesterday I spent all day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
City. For those of you that don't know it, the museum is located right next to
Central Park. Our group, Long Island Art Teachers Association, had a docent
who took us to strategic places in the Met that overlooked "The Gates" in
Central Park, and she gave us valuable information about this Installation Art.
We saw it from the stairwells on the second floor in the American Wing, the
Rooftop Gardens of the Museum, the cafe in the American wing, and then walked
through in installation itself in the park.
As an art teacher and practicing artist, I can appreciate and I understand
the concept behind this exhibition, but there's a piece of it that chaws at
The fabric is a gorgeous vibrant "saffron", as Christo calls it. When the
light changed throughout the day, its reflection impacted the color, and the
changing hues were spectacular. I learned that the artists chose February
specifically because the bareness of the trees at this time lends itself to seeing
the exhibit and there would be no leaves to disturb. The enormity of the
project, 30 years in the making, as well as the enviromentally friendly way
that the stands are installed (each on 600 lb. standing weights, not dug into
the ground) is impressive. The artists paid 21 miliion dollars of their own
money for the exhibit and the materials will be recycled when the exhibit is
over in two weeks.. Many jobs were created by this project, and it has
generated a tremendous amount of tourism to New York City in February, a
traditionally slow month.
So, with all that said in the positive, I still can't help think that 21
million dollars is an awful lot of money, even if it is for art experience.
It's the enormous amount of money that was spent that is bothering me. All was
raised by the revenue of Christo and Jean-Claude's books and drawings and by
donations. With so many illnesses for yet we are to find cures, and so many
hungry children in the world, a part of me wonders if, in this day and age,
the money spent on this exhibition isn't frivilous and wasteful.
How do you feel about this?
Susan on Long Island