Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jeanne Claude

There are certain people that have changed my way of thinking and therefore formed me as a person. Jeanne Claude and Christo changed my way of thinking about creating art.
They thought out of the box. Way out of the box.
In addition their life long dedication to one another, and their partnership in work and in life is also something I aspired to.
Though I have never become a great artist, their influence helped me in my pedestrian work as an event designer. To this day I am still wrapping things ala Jean Claude and Christo.
In my personal life I am involved in the kind of partnership they role modeled for me.
And lastly at age 60, I think of the next two decades to come as my final curtain, and so am sentimental when someone I so admire passes from this earth.
Jeanne Claude passed away last Wednesday at the young age of 74.
Besides being a great artist and partner to Christo, I admired her as one of The Great Red Heads. I have had a fascination and admiration for woman of a certain age and artistic nature who dye their hair wonderful shocking shades of red: Lucy, Collette, Shirley MacClaine, Jeanne Claude - well you get the idea.
So condolences to Christo, and their family and friends, and to us the world at large who have lost a great good heart, and a true original thinker.

The most common error is the misunderstanding that the artist is Christo
The artist is not Christo
The artists are Christo and Jeanne-Claude
from the Christo's web site in a fascinating section called Common Errors

Jeanne Claude and Christo - Their Life Together

1935 Christo: American Bulgarian-born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, June 13, Gabrovo, of a Bulgarian industrialist family.

Jeanne-Claude: American, French-born Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, June 13, 1935, Casablanca, of a French military family, educated in France and Switzerland.


Jeanne-Claude. Baccalaureat in Latin and Philosophy, University of Tunis.

Christo: Studies at Fine Arts Academy, Sofia, Bulgaria.

He studies one semester at the Vienna Fine Arts Academy.

Christo arrives in Paris where he meets Jeanne-Claude.
Packages and Wrapped Objects

Wrapped Oil Barrels 1958-59


Birth of their son, Cyril, May 11. Cyril Christo is a poet. He studied at Cornell University and graduated from Columbia University in 1982. Five books of his poems have been published. In 1998 he married Marie B. Wilkinson. Their son Lysander Christo was born September 22, 2005.

Project for the Wrapping of a Public Building
Stacked Oil Barrels, Dockside Packages at Cologne Harbor. Tarpaulin and rope. Duration: 2 weeks. Their first collaboration.

Iron Curtain-Wall of Oil Barrels, Rue Visconti, Paris, 1961-62 240 barrels. Height: 4. 3 meters (14 feet). Width: 3. 8 meters (13 feet). Depth: 1. 7 meters (5 feet 6 inch). Duration: 8 hours.

Stacked Oil Barrels, Gentilly, near Paris.

Wrapped Woman 1962


Store Fronts and Show Windows

Establishment of permanent residence in New York City.

Air Package 1966. Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Rubberized canvas balloon and rope Diameter: 5.18 meters (17 feet.). Duration: One month.

and Wrapped Tree 1966.

42,390 Cubicfeet Package 1966 at the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis School of Art. Length:18 meters (60 feet) Polyethylene: 720 square meters (8,000 square feet). Manila rope: 914 meters (3,000 feet) Duration: Three days.

Wrapped Fountain and Wrapped Medieval Tower, Spoleto, Italy Polyethylene and ropes. Duration: 3 weeks.

Wrapping of a Public Building "Wrapped Kunsthalle Berne 1967-1968" Fabric: 2,430 square meters (27,000 square feet.) Rope: 3,050 meters (10,000 feet.) Duration: 7 days.

5,600 Cubicmeter Package, Documenta 4, Kassel, Germany 1967-68 An Air Package 82 meters (280 feet) high, six concrete foundations arranged in a 275 meter (900 foot) diameter circle. Fabric: 1,980 square meters (22,000 square feet) Weight: 6,350 kilograms (14,000 pounds). Rope: 3,657 meters (12,000 feet) Duration: two and a half months.

Corridor Store Front, total area: 135 square meters (1,500 square feet).

1,240 Oil Barrels Mastaba, and Two Tons of Stacked Hay, Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art.

Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Tarpaulin: 900 square meters (10,000 square feet) and rope. Duration: 40 days.

Wrapped Floor and Stairway. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. House painter&Mac226;s cotton drop cloths, 252 square meters (2,800 square feet) and rope. Duration: 40 days.

Wrapped Coast, Little Bay, One Million Square Feet, Sydney, Australia, Erosion Control fabric: 90,000 square meters (1,000,000 square feet) and 58 kilometers. (36 miles) of ropes. Duration:
Two months.

Wrapped Monuments, Milano: Monument to Vittorio Emanuele, Piazza del Duomo, Milano, Italy. Polyethylene and rope.
Duration: Two days.

Monument to Leonardo da Vinci, Piazza della Scala, Milano, Italy. Polyethylene and rope. Duration: Seven days.

Wrapped Floors, Covered Windows and Wrapped Walk Ways, Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany. House painter's cotton drop cloths. Duration: 30 days.

Valley Curtain, Grand Hogback, Rifle, Colorado, 1970-72, Width: 381 &Mac246; 417 meters (1,250-1,368 feet). Height: 56 &Mac246; 111 meters (185- 365 feet). Nylon polyamide fabric: 12,780 square meters (142,000 square feet). Steel cables: 49,895 kilograms (110,000 pounds); 800 tons of concrete. Duration: 28 hours.

The Wall, Wrapped Roman Wall, Via V. Veneto and Villa, Borghese, Rome, Italy. Polypropylene fabric and Dacron rope. Height: 15 meters (49 feet). Length: 250 meters (820 feet). Width varying between: 4 and 5,5 meters (13 to 18 feet). Duration: 40 days.

Ocean Front, Newport, Rhode Island. Surface: 128 x 97 meters (450 x 320 feet). 13,500 square meters (150,000 square feet) polypropylene fabric floating over the ocean. Duration: 8 days.

Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972-76. 5.5 meters. (18 feet ) high, 39.4 kilometers (24-1/2 miles) long, crossing 14 roads. 2,050 fabric panels: 192 square meters (240,000 square yards) of woven nylon fabric suspended from 144 kilometers (90 miles) of steel cables. 2,080 steel poles, each: 9 cm. (3-1/2 inch) diameter, 6.4 meters (21 feet long). Duration: 14 days.

The Mastaba, Project for United Arab Emirates, in progress.

Wrapped Walk Ways, Loose Park, Kansas City, Missouri, 1977-78 12,000 square meters (15,000 square yards) of woven nylon fabric over 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles of walkways. Duration: 14 days.

Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980-83. Pink woven polypropylene fabric floating around eleven islands: 585,000 square meters (6.5 million square feet). Duration: 14 days.

Wrapped Floors and Stairways and Covered Windows, Architecture Museum, Basel, Switzerland. House painter&Mac226;s cotton drop cloths. Duration: 30 days.

The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975-85. 40,876 square meters (454,178 square feet) woven polyamide fabric. 13,076 meters (42,900 feet ) of rope. Duration: 14 days.

The Umbrellas, Japan-U.S.A., 1984-91. 1,340 blue umbrellas in Ibaraki, Japan; 1,760 yellow umbrellas in California. Each umbrella: height: 6 meters (19 ft 8 in), diameter: 8.66 meters (28 ft 6 in). Valley size in Japan: Length: 19 kilometers (12 miles). Width: 4 kilometers (2. 5 miles). Valley size in USA: Length: 29 kilometers (18 miles). Width: 4 kilometers ( 2. 5 miles) Duration: 18 days.

Over The River, Project for The Arkansas River, Colorado. in progress.

Wrapped Floors and Stairways and Covered Windows 1995. Museum Würth, Künzelsau, Germany. House painter&Mac226;s cotton drop cloth on the floor and stairs and brown wrapping paper on the glass of the windows. Duration: 3 months.

Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95. 100,000 square meters (1,076,000 square feet) of polypropylene fabric. 15,600 meters (51,181 feet) of rope and 200 metric tons of steel. Duration: 14 days.

Wrapped Trees, Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen-Basel, Switzerland 1997-98. 178 trees. 53,283 square meters (592,034 square feet) of woven polyester fabric, 23 kilometers (14.3 miles) of rope. Duration: 21 days.

The Wall,13,000 Oil Barrels, Gasometer, Oberhausen, Germany,1998-99. An indoor installation. Height: 26 meters (85 feet). Width: 68 meters (223 feet). Depth: 7.23 meters (24 feet). Duration: 6 months.


The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005 7,503 vinyl gates, with free-flowing nylon fabric panels, anchored to 15,006 steel bases on 37 kilometers (twenty-three miles) of walkways. Duration: 16 days.

2009 Jeanne Claude passes away at age 74

Here are some web sites to read more about Jean Claude and Christo.

Recently I wrapped some chandeliers at the shop I work in, perch. New Orleans, for an art exhibition. People loved them and asked how I came upon the idea, and I told them it was my very humble homage to Jeanne Claude and Christo. Sadly few knew who I was speaking of. So in the spirit of a vanishing breed, I continue to offer information for those who don't know some of the great artists that are dying out, to now have the joy of discovery.


La Petite Gallery said...

You made my Sunday. I was just telling a gallery in Rockland Maine, that a certain painting
made me think Of Christo. That was 2 days ago, and here it is. I love the blue umbrella's the
most. I was in Miami when he did the isle in Biscayne bay.

Keep on Postin and Truckin agong.
yvonne said...

I just heard of her passing this morning, such a loss, my heart breaks for her equally avant garde partner, Christo. I feel incredibly blessed to have experienced their installations personally. Thanks for the post!

Cote de Texas said...

what a darling couple. i love the hair and i love your homage to them - that is soooo gorgeous - Valorie - really gorgeous!

Carla said...

Valorie, I think you should add yourself to the list of fabulous redheads! I loved that they created together...that's not easy to do. And, I love the wrapped chandeliers. A wonderful idea I might have to use myself one of these days......

Anonymous said...

I remember that installation in Central Park. A great loss!

Jaithan + Eddie

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


This is such a brilliant post.
I have read it and re-read it.
I've always loved the wrapped Pont Neuf.
There was also the Running Fence in northern California. Chic!

I stopped in my tracks when you said you were 60! Well, something is working because you are vital and witty and vibrant and energized and insightful and reflective, all in this post.

Yes, the redheads. I think she was rather more NEON-head, no?

Furniture movers said...

They are true inspiration to all artists. I love these images of their work of art.

Baby registry said...

Their works are very impressive, fascinating. They are indeed a brilliant artist.

nevin said...

Big time real artist, real love, real people.. A great loss.. This is beautiful post, Thank you..

Greet said...

Thank you for such a great post about a great artist! I have some books of the duo and I love reading in them!
Thank you Valorie!


Ideezine said...

What a sad note. I love their LARGE approach to art display. They have done some unimaginative art and I was so excited when the Yellow umbrella installation took place in California. My husband and I went several times and told many of our friends and family to go see it.

Working on my art history and interior design degrees the spirit of how art transforms is what I learned and loved about the Cristo's. Sharing unique experiences through art open minds to further creativity!

Jeanne-Claude rest in peace. Great post!

Thanks Bette

Anonymous said...

A dear and pensive post for Jeanne-Claude. I was so taken by your wrapped chandeliers Miz V, and I like knowing where the seed for that came from. Mo and I saw the yellow California umbrellas together in 1991. I'll dig out the pics and tell you the side story someday. (Hi MeMo, I know you're reading this - miss you)

Brillante Home Decor said...

I remember the Milano's installation and the buzz in my city, never heard of Christo and Jeanne Claude until then. It was highly controversial of course and I did not understand or liked it then (Lucio Fontana was also a friend of my family and I did not understand him either back then! what did I know?!). Great post.