Central Park Saffron Gates

The unveiling of the ugly “draperies gates” in New York City’s Central Park was the epitome of what I call “Pretentious City Pretend Art.”


Art, as part of its intent and definition, is to inspire and span generations and have the creative sustainability to meet the idea of the eternal.

The Pretentious City Pretend Art masquerading as saffron gates in Central Park proves my point.

Those $21 million draperies will only stand for a couple of weeks and then they will disappear forever. Why bother?

Those draperies gates are nothing more than a “happening” or an “event” to be witnessed and then forgotten because the idea of them is to be brief, disposable and disremembered.

The “artists” never planned for the saffron gates to be anything more than a terribly selfish and self-indulgent pock on Central Park — “We were here. We spent $21 million of our own money. We are forgotten forever.”

The saffron gates would be better if there were no draperies. The saffron metal frames could stand for several lifetimes — one could even leave the draperies to decay before our eyes over time as witness to the flowing eroding of Art while the frames soldier on alone.

Permanence changes landscapes. Those frames could modify the motivation and the preponderance of Central Park over a long period of time.

The saffron gates “artists” would argue the entire point and the limit of permission for the project was its impermanence. I respond “that’s exactly why it is not Art.”

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