Now they’re taking down the Gates, and we’re left with that sense you get when you’ve been fooled. I mean, we walked around in them, and the park was almost as pretty as it is without them. Meanwhile, there were lots of tourists, meaning lots of money for vendors and hoteliers and stuff, but in cases like this “economic development” often seems to be a politician’s last refuge. (If they set the park on fire, lots of tourists would come.)
One passage from Hilton Kramer’s scathing rant at the project is really sticking with us:
“For what they signify is New York’s surrender to a kind of tourist trade devoid of artistic consequence…. They make our city look more and more like a pushover for provincial charlatans.”
And in support of the charlatan theory, the Frequent Questions section of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s website does read like some small-town imagining of what Artists are really like:
Q: How do you find inspiration and get past creative blocks?
A: All our projects come from ideas out of our two hearts, and our two brains, (we never create works coming from other people’s ideas).
We at the Politicker make no such claims of originality, and indeed we’re willing to give Lizzy Ratner credit for spotting the ridiculous FAQ.