Christo, The Bulgarian Artist Who Wrapped Landmarks, Dead at 84

Lawrence Kim
June 4, 2020

Christo, known for massive, ephemeral public arts projects, has died.

The statement from his office Sunday announcing his death said that, in accordance with his wishes, that project would go ahead and was on schedule for September next year. In 1985, they used fabric to wrap the Pont Neuf in Paris and did the same to the Reichstag in Berlin in 1995.

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Christo and Jeanne-Claude haven't wrapped up their final project yet, either - L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, is still on track for fall 2021.

His artworks "brought people together" around the world, the statement says. Jeanne Claude was also an environmental artist. "Christo and Jeanne-Claude's installation "Wrapped Coast" at Sydney's Little Bay in 1969 was ground-breaking, not only shifting Australia's cultural understanding of what art could be, but beginning Kaldor's mission to commission worldwide artists to create new work in Australia".

From early wrapped objects to monumental outdoor projects, Christo and Jeanne-Claude's artwork transcended the traditional bounds of painting, sculpture and architecture, the Facebook post said.

"It was one of the most handsome things I have ever seen: 100 rock climbers abseiling down the facade of the Reichstag, slowly unfurling this huge silvery curtain", Christo said in The Guardian newspaper in 2017.

Although their large scale outdoor and indoor projects were collaborative, they were all credited exclusively to Christo until 1994, when they revealed Jeanne-Claude's contributions.

The two artists moved to NY in 1964, where they later bought a building in the SoHo neighborhood. It was their home for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, she died at the age of 74 on November 18, 2009, in New York USA due to brain aneurysm. After attending at the Sofia Academy in the mid-'50s, he eventually moved to Paris, where he met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, who left her fiancé to be with Christo; four years after their son Cyril was born in 1960, the family moved to the United States, which granted Christo citizenship in 1973. Over 600 workers were involved in putting up The Gates in New York City. More than 5 million people saw the installation and it was credited with injecting about $254 million into the local economy.

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

Online magazine Artsy described it as "one of the great land art projects of the era".

"I like to be absolutely free, to be totally irrational with no justification for what I like to do", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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