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Christo and Jeanne-Claude
40 Years of Public Art

October 27- November 24, 2004


Christo and Jeanne-Claude hold a unique place in the history of contemporary art. From their first temporary outdoor environmental piece in 1961, "Dockside Packages" in Cologne, West Germany, to the "Gates, Project for Central Park", which will be completed this coming February, their work has become a permanent part of our cultural memory - literally so, for their work is transitory by design.

During the past four decades Christo and Jeanne-Claude have been consistent practitioners of a uniquely independent approach to public art. Unlike many of their peers, whose temporary installations were so often presented as auditions for more sought-after permanent commissions, they remained true to their original inspiration - to make a gift of the work to the public, a gift that by the nature of its brief but extraordinary life is consumed into memory. For this reason Christo and Jeanne-Claude continue to choose truly public spaces, for inherent in their approach is a deep respect for the ultimate meaning of public space as something freely shared.

The essence of their work is apparent in each undertaking. Fabric, the consistent material in all their projects, is used for its metaphorical link to the transient and impermanent - its shapeless reality controlled by the space the artists select and the properties of the required structural support. Though they have at times wrapped things, they make many other uses of cloth and color. Notable examples would be "Valley Curtain", 1972, which stretched orange nylon across the space between two hillsides in Colorado, and "The Umbrellas", 1991, in which blue umbrellas were erected in Japan and yellow umbrellas in California.

These projects take years of planning. Christo and Jeanne-Claude work with public representatives, local community organizations, environmental and structural engineers, and in the assembly stage, ordinary people who find the experience of working on these projects both memorable and exhilarating.

This exhibition, covering major works from the last four decades, is presented in chronological order, culminating with "The Gates, Project for Central Park", to be completed this winter. Along with the necessary multitude of workers (who are never volunteers, they are paid by the artists for their labor) will be students from Kingsborough who will brave the February morning cold to join Christo and Jeanne-Claude in fulfilling the promise of a project that first began on the drawing board in 1979.

Special thanks to Nurture New York's Nature, Inc., and to the Institute for Virtual Enterprise, a special CUNY initiative at Kingsborough Community College, for their invaluable assistance in arranging this exhibition.

Peter Malone
curator

 

Exhibition checklist
All are signed offset prints

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(Collage, 2002) #17685
© Christo 2002

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(collage, 2003) #18277
© Christo 2003

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(Drawing in two parts, 2003) #18296
© Christo 2003

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(collage, 2004) #18376
© Christo 2004

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(Drawing in two parts, 2004) #18370
© Christo 2004

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(collage, 2004) #18383
© Christo 2004

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(collage, 2004) #18398
© Christo 2004

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(collage, 2004) #18377
© Christo 2004

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(collage, 2004) #18371
© Christo 2004

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(collage, 2004) #18378
© Christo 2004

The Gates, Project for Central Park
(collage, 2004) #18379
© Christo 2004

Wrapped Trees, Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park
Riehen-Basel, Switzerland #13368
Photograph by Wolfgang Volz
© Christo 1998

Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, Germany, 1971-1995 #8794
Photograph by Wolfgang Volz
© Christo 1995

The Umbrellas, Japan, USA 1984 - 1991
Ibaraki, Japan Site #6401
© Christo 1991

The Umbrellas, Japan, USA 1984 - 1991
California, USA Site #6400
© Christo 1991

Wrapped Coast, Little Bay, One Million Square Feet,
Sydney, Australia, 1968 - 1969 #2299
Photo by Harry Schunk
© Christo 1969

Valley Curtain, Grand Hogback, Rifle, Colorado, 1970 - 1972 #6387
Photo by Harry Schunk
© Christo 1972

Valley Curtain, Grand Hogback, Rifle, Colorado, 1970 - 1972 #11367
Photo by Harry Schunk
© Christo 1972

Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972 - 1976 #6389
Photo by Jeanne-Claude
© Christo 1976

Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay,
Greater Miami, Florida, 1980 - 1983 #6393
Photo b Wolfgang Volz
© Christo 1983

The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, France, 1975 - 1985 #6390
Photo by Wolfgang Volz
© Christo 1985

The Wall, 13,000 Oil Barrels, Oberhausen, Germany, 1999 #13940
Photo b Wolfgang Volz
© Christo 1999

Wrapped Vestibule, Sydney, Australia, 1990
Photo b Wolfgang Volz
© Christo 1990

Wrapped Walkways, Kansas City, Missouri, 1978 #6392
Photo by Jeane-Claude
© Christo 1976

Wrapped Roman Wall, Via Veneto & Vila Borghese, Rome, Italy 1974 #6388
Photo by Harry Schunk
© Christo 1974

Over the River , Project for Arkansas River, State of Colorado
(Collage, 1993) #7268
© Christo 1974

Over the River , Project for Arkansas River, State of Colorado
(Collage, 1993) #7269
© Christo 1974

 

 

 

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