Christo and Jeanne-Claude  

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"Christo's Iron Curtain, Wall of 240 Oil Barrels, Blocking Rue Visconti, Paris, June 1962 (1962) was a poetic response to the Berlin Wall built in 1961. It consisted of a barricade of oil barrels in a narrow Paris street which caused a large traffic jam. The artwork was not the barricade itself but the resulting traffic jam. On August 10, 1972, Christo and Jeanne-Claude completed the Valley Curtain project at Rifle Gap, north of town. The completed curtain hung for only 28 hours before it was ripped by a gust of wind."--Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff (1935–2020) and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon (1935–2009), known as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, were artists noted for their large scale, site-specific environmental installations, often large landmarks and landscape elements wrapped in fabric — including the Reichstag in Berlin, the Pont-Neuf in Paris, Running Fence in California, and The Gates in New York City's Central Park.

Born in Bulgaria and Morocco, respectively, the pair met in Paris in 1958 and married in 1959. Originally working under Christo's name, they later credited their installations to both "Christo and Jeanne-Claude". Until his own recent death, Christo continued to plan and execute projects after Jeanne-Claude's death in 2009.

Their work was typically large, visually impressive and controversial, often taking years and sometimes decades of careful preparation — including technical solutions, political negotiation, permitting and environmental approval, hearings and public persuasion. The pair refused grants, scholarships, donations or public money, instead financing the work via the sale of their own artwork.

Christo and Jean Claude described the myriad elements that brought the projects to fruition as integral to the artwork itself, and said their projects contained no deeper meaning than their immediate aesthetic impact; their purpose being simply for joy, beauty, and new ways of seeing the familiar.

On all their projects since 1972 they worked exclusively with photographer Wolfgang Volz. At least five of their major projects were subjects of documentary films by Albert and David Maysles. Although Jeanne-Claude and Christo worked as creative equals on all of their art projects, only Christo's name appeared on the finished products.

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Surrounded Islands




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