It’s a wrap! The artist couple who share a birthday, Christo & Jeanne-Claude

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Wrapped Reichstag, Project for Berlin was a 1995 environmental artwork in which the artists draped the Berlin Reichstag building in 100,000 square meters of silver fabric and fastened it with blue rope | Via

June 13, On This Day  

Jeanne-Claude and Christo in May 2009


Remember last year, when the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was wrapped up in gigantic swathes of silver and blue, giving way to a flamboyant project that no one had quite envisioned could happen? 

That was the vision of artist pair Christo and Jeanne-Claude — or Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon.  

In this posthumous temporary art installation, L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris was wrapped in a silver-blue fabric and red rope for two weeks in 2021
Valley Curtain was an orange curtain of fabric to be hung across the mountainous Colorado State Highway 325 in the USA. Their most expensive work to date and first to involve construction workers, even its second attempt only stood for 28 hours before the wind again destroyed the fabric

Both born on June 13, 1935, it was as if they were made for each other, and are noted all around the world for their large-scale, site-specific environmental installations.  

Such projects have also been undertaken at the Pont Neuf in Paris, the Reichstag in Berlin, The Gates in New York City’s Central Park, and in innumerable other locations across the world. They developed consistent, longtime terms of their collaboration to create ephemeral, large-scale works. Besides fabric, they have also used polythene structures, including even oil barrels, to build their installations. 

The Gates was open to the public from February 12–27, 2005. A total of 7,503 gates made of saffron-colored fabric were placed on paths in Central Park
Their 1991 The Umbrellas involved the simultaneous setup of blue and gold umbrellas in Japan and California, respectively. The 3,100-umbrella project cost US$26 million and attracted three million visitors. They closed the exhibition early after a woman was killed by a windblown umbrella in California; separately, a worker was killed during the deconstruction of the Japanese exhibit

Interestingly, they usually flew in separate planes such that, in case one crashed, the other could continue their work. 

Last year’s project was carried out entirely posthumously, after Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009 and Christo in 2020. 

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