Jan. 31 - I came to bury Christo, not to praise him—but my embittered New York cynicism melted with my first steps into Central Park.
Permission for Christo to undertake "The Gates" had not been granted for all those years for several reasons: 1) The word "gate" immediately brings to mind the image of 15,000 deep holes being dug into Central Park and 2) city bureaucrats aren’t keen on trusting a guy with one name. Oh, and there’s the small issue that two people died at his Umbrella projects more than a decade ago. But as someone who’s covered Christo for years, I can attest that he’s just a misunderstood genius. Here’s why:
1. The principal misunderstanding is that Christo is not a lone gunman. Every artwork since 1961 has been in collaboration with his wife Jeanne-Claude. No one knew that, of course, because Jeanne-Claude didn’t get any billing until 1994, when every artwork started bearing the names "Christo and Jeanne-Claude" (she got second billing because he was already an artist by the time they met in 1958).
2. There is nothing that makes Christo and Jeanne-Claude angrier than hearing themselves referred to as "the wrapping artists." Philistines, of course, think that Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work consists solely of large objects wrapped in fabric. But they do all kinds of other things, like suspend fabric across long valleys, surround islands with fabric, and string fabric over gullies, so don’t call them "wrapping artists." But feel free to go to their Web site and enjoy pictures of their prior works, which include, "Packages and Wrapped Objects," "Wrapped Woman," "Wrapped Tree," "Wrapped Kunsthalle Berne," "Wrapped Fountain and Wrapped Medieval Tower, Spoleto, Italy," "Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago," "Wrapped Floor and Stairway," "Wrapped Coast, Little Bay," "Wrapped Monuments, Milano," "Wrapped Floors, Covered Windows and Wrapped Walk Ways, Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany," "Wrapped Roman Wall," "Wrapped Walk Ways, Loose Park, Kansas City, Missouri," "Wrapped Floors and Stairways and Covered Windows, Architecture Museum, Basel, Switzerland," "The Pont-Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975-1985," "Wrapped Floors and Stairways and Covered Windows 1995," "Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95," and "Wrapped Trees, Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park." But, please, do not call them wrapping artists.
|PRINT THIS ARTICLE|