Christo & Jeanne-Claude

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[caption id="attachment_1759" align="alignnone" width="577"]eanne-Claude and Christo during the installation of The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005. Photo: Wolfgang Volz. ©Christo and Jeanne-Claude 2005[/caption]

Christo and Jeanne-Claude (both born June 13, 1935) began their artistic lives as nomads and still selectively wander the globe. The early art of Christo is packages and wrapped objects. In 1962, Christo and Jeanne-Claude built a wall of multi-hued oil barrels blocking Paris’ rue Visconti. Spot on! Oil, cylinders, and color turning a street into an iron curtain—doesn’t that image foreshadow the last 50 years in world history?

Whether they are wrapping the Reichstag, erecting an orange curtain over a valley, or creating orange-saffron gates to celebrate Central Park’s winding pathways, their projects involve networking on many levels: they use art sales to privately fund their projects, which themselves raise world aesthetic and environmental consciousness.

Even though their reach is global, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have chosen to “settle” in New York. Their lasting contributions to American art include new ways of documenting work; planning and making site-specific work; and creating work that involves time, seasons, and impermanence.

Over the River, projected for 2013, will be sited on the Arkansas River in Colorado. At the end of each public exhibition, the artists, along with their professional team and their workers, deconstruct the art, recycle it, and depart like ecology-minded gypsies. Their traces remain on film, in Christo’s drawings and collages, and in the mind’s eye.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are represented in hundreds of museum and private collections world-wide. As they tell Art and Living, “We do not make statements. We create works of art of joy and beauty.”

On November 18, 2009, Jeanne-Claude died suddenly as a result of complications due to a ruptured brain aneurysm. Christo is deeply saddened by the passing of his wife, partner and collaborator and is committed to honoring the promise they made to each other many years ago: The art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude will continue.