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Christo and Jeanne-Claude Honored

christo jean claude brendan gill prize 2006

The 2006 Brendan Gill Prize has honored Christo and Jeanne-Claude for The Gates — the first grand scale public art project of the 21st century, a one-time exhibition that inspired New Yorkers and the rest of the world to exultation and goodwill. For sixteen shining days, February 12-28, 2005, the billowing saffron of The Gates metamorphosed Central Park into a museum without walls.

On October 5, nearly 80 MAS members and friends gathered at the Urban Center to celebrate the 19th annual presentation of the prize. The Brendan Gill jury recognized Christo and Jeanne-Claude for the process and talent involved in bringing The Gates, conceived in 1976, to its thrilling conclusion last year. The marvel of the project attests to the artistic energy which the prize seeks to recognize each year.

MAS board member Peter Duchin gallantly presented the prize to the artists. His engaging remarks included musings on how they should lead the path to redeveloping Lower Manhattan. They responded with delightful anecdotes about their personal friendship with Brendan Gill which dated to 1964.

The prize was established in 1987 to honor the critical observer, MAS champion and long-time writer for The New Yorker. Given for a specific work of art published, performed, or exhibited in the previous calendar year, the prize celebrates innovative contributions to the city.

The writer is director of the Adopt-A-Monument/Mural programs.