Monday, July 13, 2009

Pierre and Sherry

Pierre and Sherry, 2005

It’s my habit when we’re in New York to get up early in the morning and wander around with my camera.

I hadn’t known, however, that this particular Saturday morning in 2005 was when Cristo and Jeanne-Claude’s 23-mile long “Gatesenvironmental art installation was going to be unfurled in Central Park.

I was out just after sunrise. It was overcast and bitter cold. But I was fascinated by arrangement of thousands of saffron-colored vertical frames throughout the park. I followed the gates up hills and down, from 59th street into the 70s. The contrast of the bright frames against the brown trees was striking. They made for many interesting shots, though I found some of them to be strangely claustrophobic in a park that is usually known for being wide and open.

(Along the way, I found one vista where the frames didn’t monopolize the scene. Pierre and Sherry, above, is not named for the couple in the scene, but rather for the Pierre and Sherry Netherlands hotels, visible in the background.)

At first, I thought the frames were the project. That’s all that was visible when I returned to the hotel to join my wife and spend the day at our daughter’s place in Brooklyn. It wasn’t until we’re returned to Manhattan that I learned that each of the frames held a colored sheet of fabric.

I returned to the park early the next morning. It was a sunny day, which greatly improved the appearance of the Gates and helped to mitigate some of the claustrophobia. Several days after we left, New York was blanketed with snow, which made for an even more striking contrast with the orange frames and fabric.

You can see my take on “Gates” here.


  1. I was so jealous that you got to see the Gates. I didn't realize, when I first saw your photos on flickr, that you hadn't been aware of them being there and just stumbled upon them! Wow--talk about serendipity. I admit, I had twinges of nostalgia for NY when I saw Cristo was doing that installation--if I was still living up that way, I'd definitely have gone to see that. Your series of photos of them made them come to life for me. I was so glad you took them.

  2. What a lovely image.
    I loved the Gates, perhaps most of all because it brought all kinds of new yorkers out into the park to stroll and interact. I thought it was a fascinating project.