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In 1985, Chriso & Jeanne-Claude realized a long-held plan to wrap one of the great bridges across the Seine. They covered the Pont Neuf with 440,000 square feet of plastic, held in place by 42,900 feet of rope, & the Parisians, skeptical at first, applauded the final result.Christo & Jeannne-Claude
Christo, wrapper of buildings & bridges, & his life companion & co-conspirator Jeannne-Claude (1935-2009), both were born on June 13, 1935. They met in Paris, at the age of twenty-three, when Christo was commissioned to paint a portrait of Jean-Claude's mother. Their first collaborations were on the docks of Cologne, 1961. Their huge & complex projects, which involve the cooperation of many volunteer helpers, as well as years of negotiation with governments & regulators of all kinds, have brought them into the spotlight of the international art world
The couple uses only their given names to identify themselves. His full birth name is Javacheff
Christo, & hers Jeanne-Claude de Guillebon. His native country is Bulgaria, hers Tunisia.
Their lives & their work are not bound to one country, one continent, or one form of expression.
Christo began his wrapping in Paris, starting with small objects such as books & sewing machines. After the birth of their son, Cyril, in 1960, the couple worked for about a year in Germany, then returned to Paris, where they first proposed the wrapping of a public building. In London, they wrapped a girl. In 1964, they moved to New York, & from this base ventured out to wrap a tree in Holland, a museum in Minneapolis, a fountain & a tower in Italy.
In 1969, they wrapped the exterior of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, as well as 2,800 square feet of floor & stairway inside the museum. The same year they wrapped a million feet of Australian coast, using erosion control fabric & 36 miles of rope in Sydney. In 1970 they wrapped two monuments in Milan.
The first time that many Americans heard of Christo & his crew was in 1972, when they created
Valley Curtain, Rifle, Colorado, a curtain ranging from 1,250 to 1,368 feet in width, & between 185 & 365 feet in height, using 200,000 square feet of nylon, 110,000 pounds of steel cables, & 800 tons of concrete. In 1974 they wrapped a portion of the city wall in Rome, & the ocean front in Newport, RI. These wrappings went relatively unnoticed by the general public, but in 1976 the Christo group built Running Fence, an 18-foot-high fence running 24.5 miles through Sonoma & Marin Counties, California, using two million square feet of nylon fabric, 90 miles of steel cables, & 2050 steel poles. Some of the photographs of this project during its brief life are startlingly beautiful. In 1978, Christo, Jeanne-Claude, & their indispensable volunteers wrapped the walkways in Loose Park, Kansas City, & in 1983 they surrounded rather than wrapped the islands in Biscayne Bay, Miami, with 6.5 million square feet of pink fabric.
In 1991 the group undertook a project that spanned the Pacific Ocean, seting up 1,340 blue umbrellas in Japan & 1,760 yellow umbrellas in California. Each was nearly twenty feet tall & nearly thirty feet in diameter.
The Christo project that took the longest time between original idea & its execution was the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin, a period of twenty-four years. This project reached its completion in June, 1995.
The Christo & Jeanne-Claude Home Page, is maintained by three veterans of several of the couple's projects: Jok Chuch, Kaz Adams, & Von Wall.
For a brief biography, see http://www.fi.muni.cz/~toms/PopArt/Biographies/christo.html
Other images can be found by way of http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/christo.html which identifies & provides links to three online exhibits of the work of Christo (and Jeanne-Claude, whom they don't acknowledge), Grand Rapids Art Museum, Mi; Denver Museum of Art, Colorado; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Jeanne-Claude 1935-2009 obituary
Videos of various projects
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