Wednesday, February 16, 2005



My friends and I walked through the Gates on Saturday and we were moved. I have heard that Christo and Jeanne Claude say the Gates have no meaning, they are just "a work of art," and for "liberty." But it is just what a work of art is that gives them meaning. People's hearts were lifted and we walked with a sense of wonder. In my Critical Inquiry class on Sunday morning my students and I discussed what gives us such a feeling--it was the way opposites shimmered and stayed put in those lovely marching along structures.

Importantly, the way the artists carefully considered the month of February when the structures and the bareness of leaves would complement and contrast with one another we admired.

The Terrain Gallery where I teach is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Eli Siegel's Fifteen Questions "Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?" which we have described on this page before. On Sunday as we talked of what we saw and felt,it was so clear that oneness and manyness, grace and seriousness--to begin with--were affecting us--such a surprising relation of cool steel and glowing, of firmness and a shimmering motion, a fusion of exactitude and joy. The way opposites are firmly and playfully one in this Central Park extravaganza is the way, just as Aesthetic Realism describes, we want them to be one in us. Would that logic and abandon could work in us the way they do in that graceful joining of Orange and Steel. This is the meaning of the Gates.

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