Christo's Gates installation in New York's Central Park showed how a
$21 million work of art could generate $254 million worth of commerce.
But, what does that really mean? Well it means that $254 million
moved from one person's pocket to another persons's pocket. And
approximately 8.25% of that $254 million or just under $21 million
was skimmed of the top by the City and the State of New York in
the form of sales tax. And there are hotel taxes and meal taxes,
too. And, every company or any person that made any of that $254
million directly had to pay Federal and possibly State income taxes
on what they made. And if they employed people to make any of that
money they had to pay payroll taxes on that money. And those people
had to pay income taxes, too.
And, taxes are just the beginning. The City of New York probably
wrote another small fortune in parking tickets (the thing they
seem to do best - Thank you, Donald Mannes). And the Metropolitan
Transit Authority must have minted money torturing the uunfortunate
visitors who descended the stairs into their putrid morass of a subway
system or ascended the stairs onto one of their glacially slow buses.
And the Port Authority must made another small fortune in bridge and
tunnel tolls (Yes, even people from Jersey came to see the Gates).
The Port Authority also probably made a few nickels on the PATH trains,
a few of those New Jerseyans must have used mass transit.
Yes, for the Government, between the taxes and their other revenue
streams, Christo's Gates were like winning the lottery. Wait, they
already always win the lottery. They run it and the odds suck.
Bettors get a better deal with the Mafia.
Christo's Gates also showed that an artist can even triumph over
bureacracy. Especially if the artist is willing to devote 25 years.
The Government was willing to stonewall someone who was apparently
offering them a muli-million dollar windfall. A lesser man could
easily have given up.
The lessons learned from Christo's Gates are that expensive
and large works of art can greatly benefit the Government, at
least financially, and that the Government will do almost anything
it can to prevent the realization of these large and expensive
installations that can serve to benfit it. To explore, this
contradiction, I am proposing to build the largest and most
expensive art installation to date: The Bill Gates. And to
fully capitalize on this contradiction, I propose to build it
out of cash, more than $21 million worth
The Bill Gates will be a series of small gates each containing
on bill of negotiable United States paper currency. The Bill Gates
will be set 6.125 inches apart from each other horizontally, but
will not be constrained verically to account for uneven terrain
When completed, in addition to being the most expensive and the
largest work of installation art, The Bill Gates will also
have required the greatest group of volunteers in the the history
of art. The Bill Gates will also have to overcome Government
obstacles that will make Christo's problems seem trivial by
The Bill Gates will be contructed, installed, and displayed in
stages at various venues. If you would like to host an installation
of The Bill Gates, please email
After The Bill Gates has been completed, it will be dismantled
and parts of the work in several forms will be auctioned off
on aucmart.com. This will help
determine the value of "art" by comparing the auction sale price
of the piece with the break up value of the piece.