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Hilton Kramer cries over the Gates' defacement of Central Park [View All]

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-25-05 03:48 PM
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Hilton Kramer cries over the Gates' defacement of Central Park
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:cry: <=====art arbiter Hilton "neocon" Kramer

Saffron Succotash! Those Absurd Gates A Blight on Art, City
by Hilton Kramer

About the bright orange gates that have lately been erected in a defenseless Central Park in the name of art, there are no neutral opinions. Everyone has either seen or heard about this massive assault on the most beloved of the citys parks, and everyone has formed some sort of opinion on the worth or worthlessness of this extravagant and somewhat absurd episode in our urban history. My own view is that the gates are nothing less than an unforgivable defacement of a public treasure, and everyone responsible for promoting itincluding our publicity-seeking Mayorshould be held accountable, not only for supporting bad taste but for violating public trust.

What has to be understood about this whole affair is that its not only an assault on nature, but also the wanton desecration of a precious work of art. After all, Central Park is the creation of two of the greatest landscape artists in our historyFrederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vauxand its entitled to the kind of care and protection that civilized societies normally accord to works of art that belong to the community. If some barbarian entered the Metropolitan Museum of Art and proceeded to drape orange banners on the paintings and sculptures, we can be sure that the police would be called in to halt such a flagrant violation of a treasured art collection. The news media, too, would be in an uproar about it.

Yet about these gates the media has been, with few exceptions, idiotically admiring. Its hardly a surprise that The New York Times has been especially fulsome in its coverage of this outrage: Nothing less was to be expected from its chief art critic, Michael Kimmelman, who once performed a similar feat of critical stupidity by favorably comparing a Calvin Klein billboard advertisement of a young man in bikini underwear to Michelangelos David.

Thanks to the media blitz, which has lavished almost daily attention on the draped orange nylon fabric, the gates creatorsChristo and his wife, Jeanne-Claudehave achieved Andy Warhols famous 15 minutes. Not all the media coverage has been favorable, to be sure, but that hardly matters. The perpetrators of this extravaganza have won their wager in the only coin that has any meaning for them: publicity.
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