After learning about the political and social statements behind their art, I became acclimated to the unique designs. For example, one of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s collaborations was the well known wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin. Taking over twoweeks to complete, the silvery fabric shaped by the blue ropes created an elaborate flow of vertical waves highlighting the features and proportions of the imposing structure. Thewrapping of the Reichstag was created by 90 professional climbers and 120 installation workers. Even with all the workers on this project it took 24 years to complete collaborated on large-scale public art projects that impacted and transformed both landscape and architecture. Other notable pieces have included The Gates in Central Park, Running Fence in California, and various wrapped buildings.
Each project required lengthy planning and was only on view for a very short period, sometimes only a few days. Another project created by Christo is the Matsaba Project which is currently still under renovations. The Gates, one of their large scaled works, was placed at the Central Park, New York City.
The work consists of over 7500 gates with saffron colored fabric panels hanging down, occupying the walkways of the park. The Gates started at the entrance to the park and its name was inspired by the openings spread throughout the stone- walls that separate the park from the city, which was also called gates by its architects. Walking through the sixteen feet tall gates, one can encounter an array of varying width from six to eighteen feet. There is no discernible composition, no focal point and it does not convey any narration or illusionism. It was a successful public art event that transformed the park and the mind of its participants (Financing ‘The Gates’ PG 56). While many of their installation projects takes months and years to get finalized, they all go through software and hardware phases and no project can exist without one or another.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude have completed about 20 projects and twice as much have not succeeded. The artists could not get permission to create those projects, and the artists lost interest. On November 18th, 2009, at age 74, the long and illustrious career of Jeanne-Claude came to an end after she suffered a brain Aneurysm. Unable to overcome the resulting Complications, she past away. The impact of her exceptional life of was met by thousands of people who turned up despite the rain to the Met’s auditorium, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego (Artist Jeanne-Claude Honored With Massive Met Memorial).
This happened while the couple was working on two simultaneous projects, Over the River in Colorado and the Mastaba in the United Arab Emirates. Christo remains one of the most widely recognized artists working today. At 81, he says he continues to work 15 hours a day in his studio. He has no car. He never learned to drive. He has no love for computers, and he talks to people over the phone only as a last resort (On the go with artist Christo).
Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s art can still be seen in many parts of the world to this day. Their stories are still written about regularly. Tourists still travel to walk through their gates and on the floating piers. Their use a renewable resources have been passed down and emulated by younger artists. When I think about two people who have lived a fulfilling live meeting their goals, its Christo and Jeanne-Claude I think of.