Over the weekend I watched The Gates, Central Park, New York 1979-2005 - an HBO documentary about the art installation known simply as "The Gates". While watching the film I learned that artist Christo (below right) and his wife Jeanne-Claude had to fight with NYC officials for 25 years before they got the OK for the two-week project. Mayors Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani would not let them install the project in Central Park - but Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally gave the green light after he was elected.
After years of battling and planning, the artists - with the help of an army of volunteers - installed 7,503 vinyl "gates" along 23 miles (37 km) of pathways in the park during the winter of 2005. It was paid for completely by the artists.
On February 12, 2005, volunteers and elected officials simultaneously released the saffron-colored nylon fabric which was rolled up in the top of the gates. When the nylon was unfurled, the fabric flapped and swayed in the winter wind for two weeks.
Some people HATED the project - calling it "The Gates of Hell" and comparing it to a automated Car Wash. I was skeptical, but the first time I entered Central Park and walked under the gates (it was nighttime and had started to snow), I was instantly enchanted.
If you get a chance, take a look at The Gates on HBO.