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'The Gates' by Christo and Jeanne-Claude Unfurled
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg with artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude after unfurling the first fabric panels of The Gates (Central Park, February 12, 2005). Credit: Edward Reed.

NEW YORK.- Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and internationally acclaimed New York artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude yesterday at 8:30 AM unfurled fabric panels of The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005. The Mayor released the first five panels of the work of art, symbolizing each of the City’s boroughs. Throughout the morning, over 600 workers in teams of 8 released the saffron-colored fabric that is attached to each of the 7,500 gates. The Gates will be displayed along 23 miles of paved paths throughout Central Park through Sunday, February 27, 2005. It is free and open to all. Park hours are dawn until 1:00 AM.

The temporary work of art by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude consists of 7,500 gates bearing hanging saffron-colored fabric panels, lining 23 miles of pedestrian paths in Central Park. The fabric panels was unfurled on February 12, 2005, and The Gates will be on display through February 27, 2005.

"All our work is about freedom," said Christo and Jeanne-Claude. "Nobody can buy our projects, nobody can sell tickets to experience our projects. Freedom is the enemy of possession and possession is equal to permanence. That is why our projects can not remain and must go away forever. Our projects are ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ and ‘once upon a time’."

"The manufacturing of the gates in the assembly plant in Queens is almost compete," said Vince Davenport. "The 15,000 steel bases and all other gate components have arrived and we are in the final phase of attaching the fabric panels to the horizontal poles. We are ahead of our original manufacturing schedule and are now focusing on the logistical plans to ensure a safe and successful installation."

"Mayor Bloomberg’s administration has an ongoing and steadfast commitment to presenting public art throughout the five boroughs," said Deputy Mayor Harris. "We could not be more excited that world renowned, New York City artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude will present this extraordinary work of art here in Central Park. This is a defining moment in our City’s cultural history and I hope everyone will take advantage of the opportunity to experience it."

"Central Park has played host to scores of temporary works over its history," said Commissioner Benepe. "Many New Yorkers have been anticipating the unveiling of The Gates for 25 years and we are nearing that day. The Central Park Conservancy has worked closely with Christo and Jeanne-Claude to facilitate the safe installation of the work. We look forward to welcoming millions of viewers, including art aficionados from around the world, to the park in February."

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