as we are told in yesterday’s headline of the Columbia Daily Spectator reporting on the opening of an HBO documentary reminding us of the long gestation of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Saffron Gates in Central Park, New York City?
Or does Saffron spell enthusiasm? Here is my snapshot of Saffron cloth billowing in the wind on a snow-free day, February 2005.
The actual installation of the Saffron Gates – only fourteen days long – contrasts with the length of their virtual reality. Negotiations for the Saffron Gates started in 1979. And now, three years after their short residence in the Central Park, the HBO documentary chronicles the tenacious negotiations by the artists with NYC administrators and the evolution of public opinion regarding the Saffron Gates.
While early negotiation with the city administration, just emerging from a fiscal crisis, were unsuccessful, more than 20 years later – post-9/11 – Michael R. Bloomberg enthusiastically embraced Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Saffron Gates project.
Antonio Ferrara, co-director of the HBO documentary, said on the day when the Gates were installed
I started to cry on blossoming day. The last time people were looking up they were seeing a lot of bad shit happening a few years before.
I too remember watching people exploring the Saffron Gates, expectant and joyous like young children on their birthday.
My snapshot of the Saffron Gates, so far, has given rise to dissent rather than enthusiasm. Anne-Émilie, a landscape architectural designer, had googled for an image showing the effects of wind. My photo captured her interest. She asked me whether she could use it for her current project as well as for any other professional work in the future.
My answer ‘Wonderful! Pay me one dollar and you use can my photo for anything you want’ did not make her happy. First, she complained about the endless red tape that I asked her to do. Several emails later, she encouraged me to ask for more money so that her paperwork would not look silly. I increased the price for giving up my rights to the photo from $1 to $1,000. Later, in a final email, I learned that she did not want to engage in a bidding war and had found another image on the web that she could use for free. I wished her good luck!
I still cannot decide who behaved more weirdly, Anne-Émilie or I?