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Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Christo and Jeanne-Claude

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Christo and Jeanne-Claude (born Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, June 13, 1935 – November 18, 2009) were a married couple who created environmental works of art. Their works include the wrapping of the Reichstag
Reichstag (building)
The Reichstag building is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. During the Nazi era, the few meetings of members of the...

 in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 and the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, the 24 miles (38.6 km)-long artwork called Running Fence
Running Fence
Running Fence was an installation art piece by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, which was completed on September 10, 1976. The builders removed it 14 days later, leaving no visible trace....

in Sonoma and Marin counties in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, and The Gates
The Gates
The Gates was a site-specific work of art by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The artists installed 7,503 vinyl "gates" along 23 miles of pathways in Central Park in New York City. From each gate hung a panel of deep saffron-colored nylon fabric...

in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

's Central Park
Central Park
Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan...

.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same date. They first met in Paris in October 1958. Their works were credited to just "Christo" until 1994 when the outdoor works and large indoor installations were retroactively credited to "Christo and Jeanne-Claude". They flew in separate planes: in case one crashed, the other could continue their work.

Jeanne-Claude died, aged 74, on November 18, 2009, from complications of a brain aneurysm.

Although their work is visually impressive and often controversial as a result of its scale, the artists have repeatedly denied that their projects contain any deeper meaning than their immediate aesthetic impact. The purpose of their art, they contend, is simply to create works of art or joy and beauty and to create new ways of seeing familiar landscape
Landscape
Landscape comprises the visible features of an area of land, including the physical elements of landforms such as mountains, hills, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of...

s. Art critic David Bourdon has described Christo's wrappings as a "revelation through concealment." To his critics Christo replies, "I am an artist, and I have to have courage ... Do you know that I don't have any artworks that exist? They all go away when they're finished. Only the preparatory drawings, and collages are left, giving my works an almost legendary character. I think it takes much greater courage to create things to be gone than to create things that will remain."

Christo



Christo was born in Gabrovo
Gabrovo
Gabrovo is a city in central northern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Gabrovo Province. It is situated at the foot of the central Balkan Mountains, in the valley of the Yantra River, and is known as an international capital of humour and satire , as well as noted for its Bulgarian National...

, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

. His father, Vladimir Yavachev, was a scientist, and his mother, Tsveta Dimitrova, born in the Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

, was the secretary at the Academy of Fine Arts
National Academy of Arts
The National Academy of Arts is an institution of higher education in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. It is the oldest and most renowned academy of arts in the country....

 in Sofia
Sofia
Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city in the European Union with a population of 1.27 million people. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha and approximately at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula.Prehistoric settlements were excavated...

. Professors from the Academy who visited his family observed Christo's artistic talent while he was still of a very young age.

Christo studied art at the Sofia Academy from 1953 to 1956, and went to Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 (now Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

) until 1957, when he left for the West by bribing a railway official and stowing away with several other individuals onboard a train transporting medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 and medical supplies to Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

Christo quickly settled in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, and enrolled at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. After only one semester there, he traveled to Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 and moved to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 in 1958. As a result of his flight, he lost his Bulgarian citizenship and became a stateless person. His life in Paris was characterized by financial hardship and social isolation, which was worsened by his difficulty learning the French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

. He earned money by painting portraits, which he likened to prostitution and signed with his family name "Javachef" while his early works were signed "Christo".

Jeanne-Claude


Jeanne-Claude was born in Casablanca, Morocco where her French military father was stationed. Her mother, Précilda, was 17 when she married Jeanne-Claude's father, Major Léon Denat. Précilda and Léon Denat divorced shortly after Jeanne-Claude was born, and Précilda remarried three times. Jeanne-Claude earned a baccalaureate in Latin and philosophy in 1952 from the University of Tunis
Tunis University
-Profile:The Tunis University has been watchful, for sixteen years, for the best use of the human and material means granted to higher education and scientific research institutions it supervises to improve their opening on the social, cultural and economic environments.With the aim of a better...

.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Jeanne-Claude lived with her father's family while her mother fought in the French Resistance
French Resistance
The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II...

. In 1946, Précilda married the influential General Jacques de Guillebon. The family lived in Berne from 1948 to 1951 then in Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 from 1952 to 1957, when they returned to Paris.

She was described as "extroverted" and with natural organizational abilities. Her hair was dyed red and she smoked cigarettes, and tried to quit many times until her weight would balloon. She did not enjoy cooking. She took responsibility for overseeing work crews and for raising funds. She said she became an artist out of love for Christo (if he'd been a dentist, she said she'd have become a dentist).

Jeanne-Claude died in New York City on November 18, 2009, from complications due to a brain aneurysm. Her body was to be donated to science, one of her wishes.

Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg
Michael Rubens Bloomberg is the current Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $19.5 billion in 2011, he is also the 12th-richest person in the United States...

 described The Gates
The Gates
The Gates was a site-specific work of art by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The artists installed 7,503 vinyl "gates" along 23 miles of pathways in Central Park in New York City. From each gate hung a panel of deep saffron-colored nylon fabric...

as “one of the most exciting public art projects ever put on anywhere in the world — and it would never have happened without Jeanne-Claude.” Jeanne-Claude said, "Our art has absolutely no purpose, except to be a work of art. We do not give messages." She also said, "Artists don't retire. They die. That's all. When they stop being able to create art, they die."

When she died, she and Christo were at work on Over the River, fabric panels over the Arkansas River
Arkansas River
The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. The Arkansas generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's initial basin starts in the Western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas...

 in Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 and begun in 1992, and The Mastaba, a stack of 410,000 oil barrels configured as a mastaba
Mastaba
A mastaba, or "pr-djt" , is a type of ancient Egyptian tomb in the form of a flat-roofed, rectangular structure with outward sloping sides that marked the burial site of many eminent Egyptians of Egypt's ancient period...

, a truncated rectangular pyramid, in the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

.

The couple


Christo and Jeanne-Claude met in October 1958, when he was commissioned to paint a portrait of her mother, Précilda de Guillebon. Initially, Christo was attracted to Jeanne-Claude's half-sister, Joyce. Jeanne-Claude was engaged to Philippe Planchon. Shortly before her wedding, Jeanne-Claude became pregnant by Christo. Although she married Planchon, Jeanne-Claude left him immediately after their honeymoon. Christo and Jeanne-Claude's son, Cyril, was born 11 May 1960. Jeanne-Claude's parents were displeased with the relationship, particularly because of Christo's refugee status, and temporarily estranged themselves from their daughter.

In 1961, Christo and Jeanne-Claude covered barrels at the port of Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, their first collaboration. In 1962, the couple tackled their first monumental project, Rideau de Fer (Iron Curtain). Without consent of authorities and as a statement against the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

, they blocked off Rue Visconti, a small street near the River Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

, with oil barrels. Jeanne-Claude stalled approaching police, convincing them to allow the piece to stand for a few hours. Although he was simultaneously holding his first exhibition at a gallery, it was the Visconti project that made Christo and Jeanne-Claude known in Paris.

In February 1964, Christo and Jeanne-Claude arrived in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. After a brief return to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, they settled in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in September of that year. Although poor and lacking fluency in the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, Christo displayed his work in several galleries, including the well-known Castelli Gallery
Leo Castelli
Leo Castelli was an American art dealer. He was best known to the public as an art dealer whose gallery showcased cutting edge Contemporary art for five decades...

 in New York and Gallery Schmela in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Christo began to create Store Fronts which he built to scale. Sale of the Store Fronts helped finance larger projects.

Major works


On all their projects since 1972 they worked exclusively with photographer Wolfgang Volz
Wolfgang Völz
Wolfgang Völz is a German actor. He is known for his roles in theatre plays, feature films Wolfgang Völz (* 16 August 1930 in Danzig) is a German actor. He is known for his roles in theatre plays, feature films Wolfgang Völz (* 16 August 1930 in Danzig) is a German actor. He is known for his roles...

. At least five of their major projects were subjects of documentary films by Albert and David Maysles
Albert and David Maysles
Albert and David Maysles were a documentary filmmaking team whose cinéma vérité works include Salesman , Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens . Their 1964 film on The Beatles forms the backbone of the DVD, The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit...

.

Documenta 4


In 1968, Christo and Jeanne-Claude had the chance to participate at the Documenta
Documenta
documenta is an exhibition of modern and contemporary art which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. It was founded by artist, teacher and curator Arnold Bode in 1955 as part of the Bundesgartenschau which took place in Kassel at that time...

 4 in Kassel
Kassel
Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

. In addition to the sculpture, Corridor Storefronts, the couple wanted to build an air package with a volume of 5,600 m3, which would be lifted by cranes and visible from a distance of 25 km. On 24 June 1968 their first attempt to fully inflate the air package failed, as the polyethylene skin tore as it was being raised. After two more attempts and repeated repairs, and using two of the largest cranes
Crane (machine)
A crane is a type of machine, generally equipped with a hoist, wire ropes or chains, and sheaves, that can be used both to lift and lower materials and to move them horizontally. It uses one or more simple machines to create mechanical advantage and thus move loads beyond the normal capability of...

 in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, the project became a reality on 3 August 1968. The package rose to its maximum height of 280 feet (85.3 m) tall for a total of 10 hours (from 4:00 am through 2:00 pm on 4 August), becoming the largest inflatable structure with no skeleton ever constructed. Of the $70,000 (USD) cost of this project, Christo and Jeanne-Claude had financed all but $3,000 (USD) from the sale of preparatory drawings, collages and a Store Front.

Wrapped Coast


At the end of 1969 Jeanne-Claude and Christo wrapped the coast of Little Bay
Little Bay, New South Wales
Little Bay is a suburb in south-eastern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Little Bay is located 14 kilometres south-east of the Sydney central business district and is part of the local government area of the City of Randwick....

 in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 on invitation by Australian Collector John Kaldor, and as part of the Alcorso-Sekers Travelling Scholarship. With the support of John Kaldor, this became the first visit to Australia for international artists to make new work and the first in the series of Kaldor Public Art Projects.

100 workers and 11 volunteers devoted 17,000 work hours to the project. Christo wrapped Two-and-a-half kilometres of coast and Cliffs up to 26 metres high. The project required 95,600 m2 of synthetic fabric and 56 km of rope and was the largest single artwork ever made at this time. The artwork was larger than Mount Rushmore, and visitors took an hour to walk from one end of the work to the other. After initial resistance from the authorities and the public, reactions were largely positive, and had an enormous impact on art in Australia.

Valley Curtain


At the end of 1970 Christo and Jeanne-Claude began the preparations for the Valley Curtain project. A 400-meter long cloth was to be stretched across Rifle Gap, a valley in the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 near Rifle, Colorado
Rifle, Colorado
The City of Rifle is a Home Rule Municipality in Garfield County, Colorado, United States. The population was 6,769 at the 2000 census. Rifle is a regional center of the cattle ranching industry located along Interstate 70 and the Colorado River just east of the Roan Cliffs, which dominate the...

. The project required 14,000 m2 of cloth to be hung on four steel cables, fastened with iron bars fixed in concrete on each slope, and 200 tons of concrete.
The budget increased to $400,000 causing Christo and Jeanne-Claude additional problems with the financing. Finally enough works of art were sold to raise the money and, on 10 October 1971, the orange-coloured curtain was ready for hanging, but was torn to shreds by wind and rock. While a second curtain was being manufactured, Christo received a message from a Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 art historian to wrap the Reichstag
Reichstag (building)
The Reichstag building is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. During the Nazi era, the few meetings of members of the...

 in response to the 1961 "Project for Wrapping a Public Building". On 10 August 1972 the second attempt to hang the cloth succeeded, but only 28 hours later it had to be taken down because of an approaching storm.

The project was shown in the documentary film, Christo's Valley Curtain
Christo's Valley Curtain
Christo's Valley Curtain is a 1974 short documentary film directed by Albert and David Maysles, about Christo and Jeanne-Claudes Valley Curtain project. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short....

by David and Albert Maysles, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short
Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject
This is a list of films by year that have received an Oscar together with the other nominations for best documentary short subject. Following the Academy's practice, the year listed for each film is the year of release: the awards are announced and presented early in the following year.-1940s:*1941...

.

Running Fence



In 1973, after 17 stateless years, Christo became a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 citizen. In 1972, Christo and Jeanne-Claude began preparations for Running Fence
Running Fence
Running Fence was an installation art piece by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, which was completed on September 10, 1976. The builders removed it 14 days later, leaving no visible trace....

: a fabric fence, supported by steel posts and steel cables, running through the landscape and leading into the sea. The fence was to be 5.5 meters high and 40 kilometers long and constructed in Sonoma and Marin Counties, California. For the project, 59 families of ranchers needed to be convinced and the permission of the authorities had to be obtained, so Christo and Jeanne-Claude hired nine lawyers. At the end of 1973 Christo and Jeanne-Claude marked the path of the fence with wooden stakes. On 29 April 1976 the work finally began after a long struggle against bureaucracy. Approximately 200,000 m2 of nylon
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 fabric, 2050 steel posts and 145 km of steel cable were needed. On 10 September 1976 the work was completed. However, Christo and Jeanne-Claude had to pay a $60,000 fine, because they lacked permission for the coastal region.

Wrapped Walk Ways


In 1977, Christo and Jeanne-Claude were mostly paying bank loans and trying to save money. In addition, however, they continued to plan their future projects, like wrapping the Reichstag
Reichstag (building)
The Reichstag building is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. During the Nazi era, the few meetings of members of the...

, the Pont-Neuf in Paris, as well as "Wrapped Walk Ways", a covering of footpaths in a Kansas City park. In November, Christo met his parents, seeing his mother for the first time in 20 years.

With "Wrapped Walk Ways" Christo and Jeanne-Claude covered 4.5 km of footpaths in Loose Park
Loose Park
Loose Park is the third largest park in Kansas City. It is located at 51st Street and Wornall Road. The park is home to a lake, a shelter house, Civil War markers, tennis courts, a water park, picnic areas and a Rose Garden...

, a park in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

. Altogether it required 12,500 m2 of orange-yellow coloured shiny nylon fabric. Pedestrians enjoyed the artwork for two weeks in October. The cost of this project amounted to $130,000.

Surrounded Islands


Christo and Jeanne-Claude planned a project based on Jeanne-Claude's idea to surround eleven islands in Miami's Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay is a lagoon that is approximately 35 miles long and up to 8 miles wide located on the Atlantic coast of South Florida, United States. It is usually divided for purposes of discussion and analysis into three parts: North Bay, Central Bay, and South Bay. Its area is...

 with 603,850 m2 of pink polypropylene
Polypropylene
Polypropylene , also known as polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications including packaging, textiles , stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes...

 floating fabric. It was completed on 4 May 1983 with the aid of 430 workers and could be admired for two weeks.

On May 7, 1983 the installation of Surrounded Islands was completed. In Biscayne Bay, between the city of Miami, North Miami, the Village of Miami Shores and Miami Beach, 11 of the islands situated in the area of Bakers Haulover Cut, Broad Causeway, 79th Street Causeway, Julia Tuttle Causeway, and Venetian Causeway were surrounded with 603,850 square meters (6.5 million square feet) of pink woven polypropylene fabric covering the surface of the water, floating and extending out 61 meters (200 ft) from each island into the Bay. The fabric was sewn into 79 patterns to follow the contours of the 11 islands.

For 2 weeks Surrounded Islands spreading over 11.3 kilometres (7 mi) was seen, approached and enjoyed by the public, from the causeways, the land, the water and the air. The luminous pink color of the shiny fabric was in harmony with the tropical vegetation of the uninhabited verdant island, the light of the Miami sky and the colors of the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay.

Since April 1981, attorneys Joseph Z. Fleming, Joseph W. Landers, marine biologist Dr. Anitra Thorhaug, ornithologists Dr. Oscar Owre and Meri Cummings, mammal expert Dr. Daniel Odell, marine engineer John Michel, 4 consulting engineers, and builder-contractor, Ted Dougherty of A & H Builders, Inc., had been working on the preparation of the Surrounded Islands. The marine and land crews picked up debris from the eleven islands, putting refuse in bags and carting it away after they had removed some forty tons of varied garbage: refrigerator doors, tires,kitchen sinks, mattresses and an abandoned boat.

Permits were obtained from the following governmental agencies: The Governor of Florida and the Cabinet; the Dade County Commission; the Department of Environmental Regulation; the City of Miami Commission; the City of North Miami; the Village of Miami Shores; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management.

From November 1982 until April 1983, 6500000 square feet (603,869.8 m²) of woven polypropylene fabric were sewn at the rented Hialeah factory, into 79 different patterns to follow the contours of the 11 islands. A flotation strip was sewn in each seam. At the Opa Locka Blimp Hangar, the sewn sections were accordion folded to ease the unfurling on the water.

The outer edge of the floating fabric was attached to a 30.5 centimeter (12 inch) diameter octagonal boom, in sections, of the same color as the fabric. The boom was connected to the radial anchor lines which extended from the anchors at the island to the 610 specially made anchors, spaced at 15.3 meter (50 ft) intervals, 76 meters (250 ft) beyond the perimeter of each island, driven into the limestone at the bottom of the Bay. Earth anchors were driven into the land, near the foot of the trees, to secure the inland edge of the fabric, covering the surface of the beach and disappearing under the vegetation.

The floating rafts of fabric and booms, varying from 3.7 to 6.7 meters (12 to 22 feet) in width and from 122 to 183 meters (400 to 600 feet) in length were towed through the Bay to each island. There were 11 islands, but on two occasions, two islands were surrounded together as one configuration.

As with Christo and Jeanne-Claude's previous art projects, Surrounded Islands was entirely financed by the artists through the sale by C.V.J. Corporation (Jeanne-Claude Christo-Javacheff, President) of the preparatory pastel and charcoal drawings, collages, lithographs and early works.

On May 4, 1983, out of a total work force of 430, the unfurling crew began to blossom the pink fabric. Surrounded Islands was tended day and night by 120 monitors in inflatable boats.

Surrounded Islands was a work of art which underlined the various elements and ways in which the people of Miami live, between land and water.

Pont Neuf


On 14 March 1984, Jeanne-Claude became a U.S. citizen; she held dual U.S. and French citizenship. In August the couple received permission to wrap the Pont-Neuf after nine years of negotiations with the mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

, and preparations for the project began. For the wrapping of the oldest bridge in Paris, 40,000 m2 of sand-colored polyamide
Polyamide
A polyamide is a polymer containing monomers of amides joined by peptide bonds. They can occur both naturally and artificially, examples being proteins, such as wool and silk, and can be made artificially through step-growth polymerization or solid-phase synthesis, examples being nylons, aramids,...

 fabric was needed. The wrapping began on 25 August 1985 and was completed on 22 September. In the next two weeks over three million people visited the project.

The Umbrellas, Japan–USA, 1984–91


Christo and Jeanne-Claude prepared for their next project, "The Umbrellas". The plan was to have yellow umbrellas set up in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 and blue umbrellas in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 at the same time. In December 1990, after much preparation, the first steel bases for the umbrellas were installed. At the bases 80 cm long anchors were fastened to the ground to withstand tensions of 1,500 kgf
Kilogram-force
A kilogram-force , or kilopond , is a gravitational metric unit of force. It is equal to the magnitude of the force exerted by one kilogram of mass in a gravitational field...

 (15 kN). In September 1991 the umbrellas were brought to their places by 2,000 workers. In California, some of the bases were transported to the site by helicopter. The final cost of the project totaled $26 US million. By 7 September, 1,340 blue umbrellas in Ibaraki
Ibaraki Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan, located in the Kantō region on the main island of Honshu. The capital is Mito.-History:Ibaraki Prefecture was previously known as Hitachi Province...

 and 1,760 yellow umbrellas at the Tejon Ranch
Tejon Ranch
The Tejon Ranch Company , based in Lebec, California, is one of the largest private landowners in California. [The federally-gifted lands still held by the Catellus Corporation, a successor to the Southern Pacific Land Company, are much more extensive.] It was incorporated in 1936 to organise the...

 in southern California had been set up; the exhibition opened on 9 October 1991. In total, 3 million people saw the umbrellas, each measuring 6 meters in height and 8.66 meters in diameter. The umbrellas became a huge tourist attraction, finding use as everything from picnic spots to wedding altars. On 26 October 1991, one of the umbrellas in California was toppled by high winds, killing one woman and injuring several others. The exhibit was ordered closed immediately.

Wrapped Reichstag


After the project "The Umbrellas" Christo and Jeanne-Claude concerned themselves again, with wrapping the Reichstag
Reichstag (building)
The Reichstag building is a historical edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. During the Nazi era, the few meetings of members of the...

 in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. With the support of the President of the Parliament, Rita Süssmuth
Rita Süssmuth
Rita Süssmuth is a German politician and a member of the Christian Democratic Union .From 1985 to 1988, Süssmuth was Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth under Chancellor Helmut Kohl. She was a member of the German Bundestag from 1987 to 2002...

, Christo and Jeanne-Claude worked to convince the elected Members of Parliament, going from office to office, writing explanatory letters to each of the 662 delegates and innumerable telephone calls and negotiations. On 25 February 1995 after a 70 minute debate at the Parliament and a Roll Call vote, the Bundestag
Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

 allowed the project to go ahead.

Just under 100,000 m2 of fireproof polypropylene
Polypropylene
Polypropylene , also known as polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications including packaging, textiles , stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes...

 fabric, covered by an aluminum layer, and 15 km of rope
Rope
A rope is a length of fibres, twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling and connecting. It has tensile strength but is too flexible to provide compressive strength...

 were needed. The wrapping began on 17 June 1995 and was finished on 24 June. The spectacle was seen by five million visitors before the unveiling began on 7 July.

Verhüllte Bäume (Wrapped Trees)


After 32 years, Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped 178 trees in Berower Park / Beyeler Foundation
Beyeler Foundation
The Beyeler Foundation or Fondation Beyeler with its museum in Riehen near Basel owns and oversees the art collection of Hildy and Ernst Beyeler that was built up by the couple over five decades and placed under the aegis of the foundation in 1982. The collection was first publicly exhibited in its...

 north-east of Basel
Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

 between 13 November and 14 December 1998. To wrap the trees, the couple used 55,000 m2 of silver-grey shiny polyester fabric and 23 km of rope. A pattern had to be made for each individual tree and so the natural shape of the branches pushed the fabric outwards, creating individual shapes in the sky. The trees varied in height from 2 to 25 meters and in width from 1 to nearly 15 meters. As with their other projects, this was financed by the sale of original works. All materials used in this project were recycled when it was taken down.

Wrapped Snoopy House


In 1978, Charles M. Schulz
Charles M. Schulz
Charles Monroe "Sparky" Schulz was an American cartoonist, whose comic strip Peanuts proved one of the most popular and influential in the history of the medium, and is still widely reprinted on a daily basis.-Early life and education:Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Schulz grew up in Saint Paul...

 drew an episode of his comic strip Peanuts
Peanuts
Peanuts is a syndicated daily and Sunday American comic strip written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz, which ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000, continuing in reruns afterward...

in which Snoopy
Snoopy
Snoopy is an fictional character in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. He is Charlie Brown's pet beagle. Snoopy began his life in the strip as a fairly conventional dog, but eventually evolved into perhaps the strip's most dynamic character—and among the most recognizable...

's doghouse is wrapped in fabric by Christo. In response, Christo constructed a wrapped doghouse and presented it to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in 2003.

The Gates




On 3 January 2005, work began on the installation of the couple's most protracted project, The Gates
The Gates
The Gates was a site-specific work of art by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The artists installed 7,503 vinyl "gates" along 23 miles of pathways in Central Park in New York City. From each gate hung a panel of deep saffron-colored nylon fabric...

, in Central Park
Central Park
Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. The title is "The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979-2005" in reference to the time that passed from their initial proposal until they were able to go ahead with it: only with the permission of the new mayor of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, were they able to proceed. "The Gates" was open to the public from 12 February until 27 February 2005. A total of 7,503 gates made of saffron color fabric were placed on paths in Central Park. They were five meters high and had a combined length of 37 km. Bloomberg, a fan of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, presented them with the "Doris C. Freedman Award for Public Art" for the work of art. Christo and Jeanne-Claude often expressed satisfaction that their concept for their home town of over 30 years was finally realized.

The cost of the project was $21 million US dollars which was raised entirely by Christo and Jeanne-Claude selling studies, drawings, collage
Collage
A collage is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole....

s, works from the 1950s and 1960s. They do not accept any sponsorship, nor did the city of New York have to provide any money for the project. Christo and Jeanne-Claude donated all the money raised from the sale of souvenirs such as postcards, t-shirts and posters to "Nurture New York's Nature, Inc." While the engineering, manufacturing and set-up took over a year, about 750 paid employees erected the project in five days and then deployed the fabric of all the gates in half an hour. Around 600 more ("Gate-keepers") distributed 1 million free samples of the fabric to visitors. The uniformed Gate-keepers also provided information to visitors about the project, and were responsible for unrolling the gates that had rolled over their crossbars in the high wind. More workers uninstalled the project in one week, leaving almost no trace and shipping all the materials for recycling.

Over The River


Christo and Jeanne-Claude announced plans for a future project, entitled Over The River, to be constructed on the Arkansas River
Arkansas River
The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. The Arkansas generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's initial basin starts in the Western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas...

 between Salida, Colorado
Salida, Colorado
The City of Salida is a Statutory City that is the county seat and most populous city of Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The population was 5,504 at the U.S. Census 2000.-History:800px|thumb|left| Panoramic View of Salida, 1910...

 and Cañon City, Colorado
Cañon City, Colorado
The City of Cañon City is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Fremont County, State of Colorado. The United States Census Bureau estimated that the city population was 16,000 in 2005. Cañon City is noted for being the location of nine state and four ...

 on the eastern slope of the Rocky mountains. This scenic area is known as Bighorn Sheep Canyon, and is west of the well-known Royal Gorge
Royal Gorge
The Royal Gorge is a canyon on the Arkansas River near Cañon City, Colorado. With a width of at its base and a few hundred feet at its top, and a depth of in places, the 10-mile-long canyon is a narrow, steep gorge through the granite of Fremont Peak...

. Plans for the project call for horizontally suspending 6.7 miles (10.8 km) of reflective, translucent fabric panels high above the water, on steel cables anchored into the river's banks. Project plans call for its installation for two weeks during the summer of 2014, at the earliest, and for the river to remain open to recreation during the installation.

Reaction among area residents has been intense with supporters hoping for a tourist boom and opponents fearing that the project would ruin the visual appeal of the landscape and inflict damage on the river ecosystem. One local rafting guide compared the project to "hanging pornography in a church." The Bureau of Land Management released a Record of Decision approving the project on November 7, 2011. Work on the project cannot begin, however, until the Bureau of Land Management issues a Notice to Proceed. A lawsuit against the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife was filed on July 22 by Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR), a local group opposed to the project. The lawsuit is still awaiting a court date.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude's inspiration for "Over the River" came in 1985 as they were wrapping the Pont-Neuf and a fabric panel was being elevated over the Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

. The artists began a three-year search for appropriate locations in 1992, considering some eighty-nine river locations. They chose the Arkansas River because its banks were high enough that recreational rafters could enjoy the river at the same time.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude have already spent more than $6 million on environmental studies, design engineering, and wind-tunnel testing of fabrics. As with past projects, Over The River would be financed entirely by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, through the sale of Christo’s preparatory drawings, collages, scale models, and early works of the 1950s/1960s. On July 16, 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management released its four-volume Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which reported many potentially serious types of adverse impact but also many proposed "mitigation" options.

Public collections

  • Boca Raton Museum of Art
    Boca Raton Museum of Art
    The Boca Raton Museum of Art is located at 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, Florida in Mizner Park. It houses works of art by a number of the great masters.-About:...

  • MAMAC, Nice, France

Honors and awards

  • (2011) Awarded honorary degrees from Occidental College
    Occidental College
    Occidental College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1887, Occidental College, or "Oxy" as it is called by students and alumni, is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges on the West Coast...

    .
  • (2008) Awarded honorary degrees from Franklin & Marshall College
    Franklin & Marshall College
    Franklin & Marshall College is a four-year private co-educational residential national liberal arts college in the Northwest Corridor neighborhood of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States....

    .
  • (2006) Best Project in a Public Space for The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979-2005, AICA-USA Awards
  • (2004) Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, International Sculpture Center, Hamilton, NJ, USA
  • "Doris C. Freedman Award for Public Art"
  • (1973) Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short
    Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject
    This is a list of films by year that have received an Oscar together with the other nominations for best documentary short subject. Following the Academy's practice, the year listed for each film is the year of release: the awards are announced and presented early in the following year.-1940s:*1941...

    .

External links



Jeanne-Claude
  • Obituary in The Guardian
    The Guardian
    The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

  • Obituary in The Independent
    The Independent
    The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

    by Marcus Williamson
  • Obituary in the Daily Telegraph