It began during a bored night of TV-watching. Then-unknown internet dude Geoff Hargadon was zoning out on the sofa, watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show with his wife, marveling at the hype around Christo and Jeanne-Claude's $20 million "Gates" installation in Central Park. Just $3.50 in art supplies later, a cat-scaled masterpiece was born.
He is on his way to a reception hosted by the mayor. His lunch at a Cambridge restaurant was free, after the man behind the counter recognized him. And his phone rings constantly with people calling to congratulate him. "It's just so amazing that I know this man," gushed a co-worker at his office yesterday.
Geoff Hargadon — Hargo, now that he's a star — is the creator of The Somerville Gates, a micro sendup of the saffron extravaganza now in New York's Central Park. And he has become almost preposterously famous. After he posted photos on his website of his 13-gate installation — made from stuff he picked up at Home Depot that he glued together and painted orange — Hargadon received more than 4 million hits, so many that he had to take it down yesterday because his Internet service was charging him for every visit. He owes thousands, he says.
Museums across the country are after him. Manhattan's Pratt Institute wants a Somerville Gate for its permanent collection. Ditto, the Browne Popular Culture Museum in Bowling Green, Ohio; the Portland Art Museum in Oregon; and Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. Someone from Tufts University invited him to display the work in a juried art show.
Eric Marcoullier sez:
Re: Hargo's sudden burst of fame (Christo "Gates" parody leads to absurd burst of fame), is anyone else reminded of the Simpsons episode "Mom and Pop Art" where Homer tries to build a grill and gets labeled as an outsider artist? One minute you're sitting on the floor making 4"-high gates as a joke, the next minute you're judging art competitions at Tufts University. Awesome! And come to think of it, Christo was even mentioned in the episode: Link