Public art on the cheap

Christo's The Gates reportedly cost $2 million. Robert Smithson's finally realized Floating Island, a mere $200,000. But a new public art project in New York has them both beat:
A Gate chasing Floating Island. These unnamed artists bolted a replica Gate to a small boat with an outboard motor, shoved off from DUMBO, and chased after Floating Island.

And it seemed like, for a moment, the public and public art understood each other. Blogger commentary, the New York Times, New York Magazine: a collective sigh of relief from the pretensions that accompany public art with too much advertising.

From November 18th through December 22, the boat itself, with its makeshift saffron sail, will be on display as well as a film that documents the boat’s adventure and speaks back to all the attention. Is public art still possible? Can a cheap stunt pack a punch? Does art make enough room to laugh at itself? Yes. When money steps aside and lets the work do the talking.

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