Uncategorized | February 22, 2005

More than a week ago, “The Gates” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude unfurled in Central Park. With one week remaining, the saffron ribbons will wreathe acres of winter landscape, as a gift to New Yorkers and those who flock to the city to see the transitory vibrant tableau. Television segments and other media have already broadcast that news; this Weblog is only another gesture toward that fabric-ated canvas, and to you, to take another glimpse at “The Gates” before they are dismantled. Whether or not you even like Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s giant umbrellas, wrapped buildings or bridges, there seems no denying that their art provokes a response.

Nearer to home here in Columbia, MO: a friend told me a story about a woman on a local radio show, who received a call with a complaint about the use of public funds for art to decorate so mundane a space as a parking lot. (The city has a “Percent for Art Program,” which began in 1997 and allots 1% of the cost of new city construction or renovation projects to be used for site-specific art.) The radio host recounted her drive past the parking garage with her young son, who usually kept quiet. Like the caller, he expressed dislike. The concurrence of responses was not the radio host’s point; rather, she said of both cases: The presence of art sparked a conversation where before there had been none.

In our post-Dada, post-(post)Modern age, the label of “Art” can be applied to anything, from the sublime to the ridiculous. My posting here is not an attempt to label “The Gates,” a parking lot in Columbia or anything else, only to encourage the creation, appreciation, and challenge of art. Whether or not we like a particular piece – or even agree on it as Art – it might surprise or confound us, quicken our pulses, serve as reminder of something deep in our marrow, cause us to perceive the world through an ever-refocusing lens.

At TMR, this is our aspiration, too. Here and there: have we sparked a conversation for you about something, where before there had been none?