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Art and Ecology:
Deutsche Bank welcomes "The Gates" in New York

The Gates, Project for Central Park, New York City, 2003
©Christo 2003, Deutsche Bank Collection

The Gates Project by Christo and Jeanne-Claude combines art and urban ecology in a unique way: 7,500 gates with 16 foot-long plastic orange banners hanging from them will be installed for 16 days in New York’s Central Park beginning on February 12 2005 – at a time when the trees are bare and snowstorms are a real possibility. Designed according to the measurements of the park paths, the gates follow a selected course in Central Park like orange-colored veins. The synthetic woven fabric is fastened in such a way that the wind blows each banner to the next gate, covering the wintertime park beneath a huge veil of color.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude have been known for almost forty years for their spectacular wrappings of landscapes and buildings, including Berlin’s Reichstag, which was packed in shimmering silver aluminum fabric in 1995. At the time, five million people saw the action; their visit brought millions in additional income to the city. New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg also expects at least 500,000 visitors in the 16 days during which The Gates will transform Central Park into a temporary work of art.

Like all actions by the artist couple, The Gates incurs no costs for the city or other public institutions. Christo and Jeanne-Claude have also turned down all donation and sponsoring offers. The artists have financed the project entirely on their own through sales of their own works, including sketches, models, drawings, etchings, and editions on the project.

The Gates has also given jobs to hundreds of New Yorkers involved in constructing the work of art and realizing the project. And it’s a gift to the city in another sense, as well: Christo and Jeanne-Claude have given over the merchandising rights for The Gates to the non-profit organization NNYN (Nurture New York’s Nature), which will be sharing the proceeds with Central Park’s Ecology Department.

As a member of NNYN and a partner of The Gates Alliance for Central Park, it’s a special joy and honor for Deutsche Bank to accompany the artist couples’ new project. Since 2003, Nurture New York’s Nature (NNYN) has been working towards increasing public awareness of the preservation and improvement of urban nature as a part of the quality of community life. Together with institutions such as the City University in New York, the NNYN publishes, puts on workshops and symposia, and supports various different campaigns.

Justifiably, the artists’ expectations run high. Thus, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have issued the following statement on their website: "The 16 day duration work of art, free to all, will be a long-to-be-remembered joyous experience for every New Yorker, as a democratic expression that Olmsted invoked when he conceived a ‘central’ park." The fact that ecological awareness and large-scale artistic projects such as The Gates can enter into a meaningful symbiosis is also demonstrated by the details of the action’s planning: after the gates are taken down, the massive construction will leave no holes in the ground behind, while the 4,799 tons of steel and sixty miles of plastic banners will be recycled completely.

The Gates, Project for Central Park, New York City, 2003
©Christo 2003, Deutsche Bank Collection