“Love and Art”

Artists: Christo and Jeanne-Claude
"Wrapped Reichstag" Berlin, 1995.
One million sq. ft. of shimmering aluminum-coated fabric tied with bright blue synthetic rope.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 1974

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 2007

Their romance was meant to be. They were born on the same day, June 13, 1935.  In their 20s they fell in love. She was born to well-to-do French parents. He was a penniless Bulgarian refugee. Her parents disapproved; they said he would never amount to anything. The couple moved to Paris where they fell in love again…this time with the environment and its beauty. Their life’s work in art began.

Christo (who goes by his last name only) and his wife, Jeanne-Claude (who goes by her first name only), believe that no one really owns our land, our waters, and our skies. They want to challenge us to see our world as art, and to see it differently.

The two artists try to show us that art doesn’t have to be permanent. Their projects are temporary. They cannot be bought or sold and nobody can sell tickets.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude accept no sponsors. All projects are completely financed by the sale of their project drawings, prints and scale models.

So how do the artists actually make their art?

Christo and Jeanne-Claude “gently disturb” the environment. They wrap famous landmark bridges and buildings in Europe with effervescent synthetic fabric. They surround small islands in Florida with floating fabric. They install thousands of huge blue and yellow umbrellas in the countryside of Japan and California. They design bright orange silk fabric gates for New York’s Central Park.

Millions of people come to see the things they see everyday. Ah, but now they are different. What was familiar is now changed. They are seen anew!

All projects are dismantled and completely taken down after two weeks.

Christo’s wife and artistic muse, Jeanne-Claude, died in 2009, of a brain aneurysm.  But Christo believes her fearless creative spirit will always be with him.

Next project: “Over The River.” It’s a temporary work of art by Christo (and Jeanne-Claude) to suspend 6 miles of silvery, luminous fabric panels high above the Arkansas River along a 42-mile stretch of Southern Colorado.

Wow!

Captivating Video of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Art!
Click here if unable to view the video.

Leave a Comment

2012-09-17T20:34:21+00:00

12 Comments

  1. Robert Foxworth September 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Hi, For years I considered Christo’s stuff to be kind of silly. When they did the orange running wrap in Central Park I was living in NY. One snow laden afternoon we decided to go take a look and much to my amazement I loved it. Not so much IT but what IT engendered. A lot of people who probably wouldn’t have been in the park otherwise and lot who made a habit of it were intrigued by Christo’s work. What really won me was that people were talking to one another, strangers laughing and sharing thoughts about this act of art that surrounded them. The sense of community was wonderful and made me understand that this is one of the things that art, of any kind, can do. It was serene and exhilarating at once.

    • Donna Turner September 28, 2012 at 11:19 am - Reply

      I was happy to hear your reaction to their work. I love it when art creates conversation and interacts with community.

  2. Stephen Dunn September 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    An incredible love story about two incredible people who have a
    very incredible talent,foresight and generosity to share
    with the world…
    It also takes something unique to create something
    Outside of the norm from something that is normal
    AND have the ability/demeanor to be able to
    destroy it…
    Like sandcastles on the beach….only to be enjoyed
    For a brief moment in time— much like life…

  3. Vic DePratti September 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    One cannot deny the scale of their works, nor their commitment to their unique art form. The extent of their commitment apparently extends to each other – loving but intertwined in an uncommon approach to Christo’s view of life, order, and property rights. I guess its just fine but difficult for me to quite grasp.

  4. dede schuhmacher September 18, 2012 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    I wish my mind was this expansive

    dede

  5. Susie Snyder September 19, 2012 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Hi Kirby,

    I just recently found out that Jean – Claude has passed on. I found their partnership inspiring and moving. Interesting that in the early yr. stuff was credited to Christo & not her. They subsequently & retroactively changed that so they were both given credit. Thankfully she live to see the gates finished in NYC – a process of over 20 yrs. Thank you for posting it.
    love to you from San Miguel-

    Susie Snyder

    • kkeditor September 26, 2012 at 6:43 am - Reply

      Thx Susie for the info about Christo & Jeanne-Claude’s accreditation & the length of time it takes to secure approval from the powers that be for their projects! Very interesting details.
      Kirby

  6. Sam Kendrick September 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    They are the only couple in the world who would fight over who gets to wrap the presents at Christmas time.

  7. Judith Gray September 21, 2012 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    Their loving work is totally mind-boggling, Kirby. The images are so gentle and respectful – splendidly artistic, yet ultimately ephemeral.

    Judith

  8. linda blair September 24, 2012 at 8:45 am - Reply

    Thank you, Kirby! I’d never quite understood their intent before … and relish the way you weave in their personal passion as well as their passion for art. (Love Sam’s take!)
    Linda

  9. Diane Rudy December 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Kirby Girl, you have really spread your wings. You give us so much inspiring information. Taking time out to enjoy your blog of visual treats and information is giving myself a quality time treat. I saw the Van Gogh exhibit at the Denver Museum and cried. It was so moving, it was though he had just finishing the painting and was standing near by.

  10. murray brott January 8, 2013 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Kirby,
    I have always appreciated Christo’s work but never knew the story about he and his collaborator/wife, Jeanne-Claude. The Reichstag sure looked different a couple of months ago than it did all wrapped up in 1995…more than just the missing dome, which was constructed after the “wrapping.”
    Thanks for enlightening us all!
    Murray

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