Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I don't recall being dragged out of my bed by jackbooted centurions from the Ministry of Art and forced to experience the tyranny that is The Gates, but Myron Magnet of the right/libertarian City Journal ("the best magazine in America" --Peggy Noonan) suggests that I was (in an essay called "'The Gates' on the Road to Serfdom"):

For all the cant about the artist as a liberator of the human spirit, there is much in contemporary art and especially architecture that seeks to impose upon individuals the artist's vast ego and confine them within it, so that they cannot escape his will. It is this whiff of totalitarianism that makes Polish intellectuals label such architecture "neo-oppressionism."

Fortunately, in two weeks, when the sensation of  "The Gates" has worn off, Christo's work will disappear. If only the same could be said of other neo-oppressionist schemes...

In The New York Sun, Magnet elaborates:

"The fact is, this is not progressive. It is not life-enhancing. It does not speak of the liberty of the individual. Like so much of modern architecture, it speaks of some totalitarian system, be it corporate or state bureaucracy, in the face of which the individual is just a small cog in a great machine. It says, 'By God, you will go where Mr. and Mrs. Christo lead you.'"

What would be better, I suppose, would be Atlas Smashed the Gates, a work that allowed every (in a Randian sense) radically free individual to destroy or build as many gates, or other monuments (or impediments) to the individual will, as he or she (probably he) could build. Or destroy. Or something like that. In an ongoing creative-destruction sort of way.

Death to all artists with "visions" they brutally and tyrannically seek to impose on the willing and pleased!

Alas, here's the front page of today's New York Times. It's worse than Magnet thought -- even Laura Bush can't escape arrest and forcible Gates reeducation at the hands of the Art Ministry's thugs! (Link will work today only. There's another photo here. Good Lord -- they got NotJenna, too!)

Look, this is an artwork. It's up for two weeks. Citizens didn't pay for it; no one is forced to see it; no one who sees it is forced to like it. It's there for the taking, or avoiding. I think it's endearingly brash and somewhat barmy, in a way that really suits a huge, half-crazy built on ridiculously large ambitions. But maybe I feel this way only because I've come to believe 2+ 2 = 5, and I love Big Brother.

No comments: