I live in New York City and haven't seen The Gates.
I'm not even sure I want to. Maybe it's that I feel like I already have. Having been crushed under the weight of orange coverage, I'm tempted to avoid them altogether. To spite all the people talking. Talking in simple, ineffective terms I might add. Maybe I'm just a brat, spoiled by years of Critical Theory and years of conversation dissecting and understanding pieces a hundred times more complicated, more nuanced, better. Or maybe it's that the principle effect they have on people, to encourage an augmented awareness of their surroundings and to encourage the discussion of context, is simply not enough. It's an issue that was addressed much more thoroughly, and poignantly decades ago. The entire 70s in fact. Sure, I'm happy that folks who usually don't think about art are doing it, but should I really be satisfied by that? They're thinking about them, but only in the most superficial terms. Good art asks the viewer to work a little, and The Gates don't, which is of course, why folks love them. Should I be impressed because the lazy are?
Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the interaction with their surroundings, their site-specificity, I can even appreciate the formal qualities, the color, the materials, the repetition, the scale, and all that those qualities access. It's just that The Gates don't do anything new, they don't ask any real questions, they don't feel like a product of our time.
I've got 10 days. I'll see them. And I won't rule out abandoning my presumptions for fond memories. I don't anticipate I will however. I'll be going to acquire ammunition. To be loaded when they come up in conversation, yet again. To be motherfucking bulletproof as I tear The Gates down.