Artist Christo, Famous for Wrapping Exteriors of Landmark Buildings, Dies at 84

Lawrence Kim
June 2, 2020

"All the journey is the work of art", Christo told Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson in 2016 of the project that was public for just 16 days before it was taken down and recycled. No cause of death was given.

Christo worked with his wife, Jeanne-Claude, creating whimsical larger-than-life artworks and together wrapped the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris and the Reichstag building in Berlin as well as created The Gates in New York's Central Park, which was 23 miles of vinyl gates displayed in the famous park in 2005. Inspired by Russian Constructivism, Christo began appropriating oil drums to make his first wrapped works in the late '50s, and in 1962, he and Jeanne-Claude blocked a small Parisian street with oil barrels, an "iron curtain" to protest the Berlin Wall for which they were nearly arrested.

An environmental art project titled Surrounded Islands by artist Christo is pictured during its installation in Miami, Fla., in May 1983. His death was announced Sunday, May 31, 2020, on Twitter and the artist's web page.

In accordance with Christo's wishes, a work in progress, "L' Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped", would be completed. A retrospective of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's work is also scheduled to open in July at the Centres George Pompidou.

"Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible but realizing it", his office said in a statement.

His artworks "brought people together" around the world, the statement says.

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, often known as Christo, died of pure causes on Could 31 at his dwelling in NY, in line with an announcement made on the artist's official Twitter and Fb accounts. He met Jeanne-Claude two years later, and they would begin creating large-scale public artworks in 1961. He presented The Floating Piers in 2016, a piece of work he and Jeanne-Claude first envisioned after they wrapped a massive section of the Australian coastline with fabric in 1969.

The pair moved to NY in 1964, where they liked to say that they were illegal aliens in an illegal building in SoHo for a few years.

Their works were grand in every respect, from manpower to impact.

For the Umbrella project, a total of 1,880 workers were used. "I will live with that tragedy to the end of my life", Christo said at the time. In the instance of the Reichstag, he said, covering it with fabric made the Victorian sculptures, ornament and decoration disappear and "highlight the principal proportion of architecture". "The fabric is very sensual and inviting". "Here now, the federal government is our landlord".

ELLEN BAUDER: I don't particularly consider it an art project.

To finance the ambitious projects and maintain their artistic freedom, the couple would sell their preparatory work, including collages and drawings.

After "Running Fence", Christo and Jean-Claude continued to make headlines with art installations such as "The Umbrellas", in which yellow and blue umbrellas were placed in Southern California and Japan, respectively.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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