Christo is best known for his environmental art projects, most notably, his collaborative large-scale site-specific installations in which he wraps buildings, monuments and vast spans of nature in fabric.
A Bulgarian refugee who arrived in Paris in 1958, he began making small wrapped works—books, cans and furniture—with the intention of allowing everyday objects to take on new identities. In the mid-1960s, the artist and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, moved to New York and began to conceptualize more ambitious projects. Over the years they collaborated on numerous temporary large-scale installations devised to alter a structure or a space, thus granting the viewer a unique opportunity to perceive a familiar environment with new eyes and a new consciousness. Although often met with resistance, these projects ultimately became communal events uniting millions internationally.
Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, Colorado, 1998 is a drawing for an as-yet-to-be-realized project to suspend luminous fabric above a forty-two-mile stretch of river. The sketch for The Gates, Project for Central Park, New York City, 2002 commemorates one of the artists’ most ambitious projects, for which they placed more than seven thousand saffron panels in the park, a work that was twenty-six years in the making.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s large-scale public projects include Wrapped Coast, Australia, 1968–1969; Valley Curtain, Rifle, Colorado, 1970–1972; Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin counties, California, 1972–1976; Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Florida, 1980–1983; The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975–1985; The Umbrellas, Japan–USA, 1984–1991; Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971–1995; Wrapped Trees, Riehen, Switzerland, 1997–1998; and The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979–2005.
Born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, 1935 | Lives and works in New York
The Gates, Project for Central Park, New York City, 2002, pencil, charcoal, pastel, wax crayon on paper, in two parts: 15 x 65 inches and 42 x 65 inches/38.1 x 165.1 cm and 106 x 165.1 cm
Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, Colorado, 1998, pencil, charcoal, pastel, wax crayon, topographic map, in two parts: 15 x 65 inches and 42 x 65 inches/38.1 x 165.1 cm and 106.6 x 165.1 cm
© 1998 and 2002 Christo
With thanks to Frank Cassou and Gabrielle Cassou.