A Fourth Movements in Entrepreneurship Book
Edited by Daniel Hjorth and Chris Steyaert
Chapter 5: Opening the Gates to the Art Firm: The Christos as Entrepreneurs
5. Opening the gates to the Art Firm: the Christos as entrepreneurs Pierre Guillet de Monthoux AESTHETICS TRANSCENDING THE MANAGERIAL In February 2005 when partners-spouses Christo and Jeanne-Claude constructed ‘The Gates’ in Central Park, New York Times writer Michael Kimmelman described the installation as a ‘billowy gift’ to the city. As it turns out, ‘The Gates’ was the gift that keeps on giving. In addition to the over 4 million visitors who viewed it over the 16-day period it was open, the project continues to draw reﬂection and commentary today from people interested in the various art and business applications suggested by the showing. For a number of years, Torsten Lilja, a pop-art-collecting Swedish business friend of mine and of the Christos, has urged me to reﬂect on these installation artists in terms of enterprise and entrepreneurship. His suggestion was especially interesting since Christo himself had been called an entrepreneur 20 years earlier and had been oﬀended by the label. What serious artist would want to be known as an entrepreneur, he parried. Apparently Christo has changed his mind with the times, though, and Lilja reports that the Christos now happily take on the tag of ‘entrepreneurs’. When Dr Ruth Bereson and her colleague Dr Graeme Sullivan, professors at Teachers College, Columbia University, invited me to meet at ‘The Gates’ to discuss ‘Enterprising Art and Artistic Practice’,5 I jumped at the chance. In addition to the promise of a stimulating seminar – part of which would be...
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