Home > Artist of the Week, Sculpture, Uncategorized > Artist of the Week: Christo & Jeanne-Claude

Artist of the Week: Christo & Jeanne-Claude

July 24, 2010

My Artist of the Week is actually a duo, Christo and Jeanne-Claude are a well-known team that focuses on site specific sculpture installation.  They often modify a location, changing the recognizable features, frequently using fabric and other materials.  They’ve wrapped buildings such as MoCA in Chicago, have draped materials over rivers, have covered sidewalks and more.   Their work is on a large scale, involving large areas or space and sometimes thousands of items in the art work.

     “Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s works are entire environments, whether they are urban or rural. The artists temporarily use one part of the environment. In doing so, we see and perceive the whole environment with new eyes and a new consciousness.

      The effect is astounding. To be in the presence of one of these artworks is to have your reality rocked. You see things you have never seen before. You also get to see the fabric manifest things that cannot usually be seen, like the wind blowing, or the sun reflecting in ways it had not before.

     The effect lasts longer than the actual work of art. Years after every physical trace has been removed and the materials recycled, original visitors can still see and feel them in their minds when they return to the sites of the artworks.

     There is no other way to describe that the feeling of that effect other than to say it is magical.”                  

  – FAQ from their web site.

I would like more people to be aware of their work, since AT&T saw fit to steal it for a cell phone network commercial advertising their coverage.  Text in the commercial indicates “The artists Christo and Jeane-Claude have no direct or indirect affiliation or involvement with AT&T.”  WTF?  I am interpreting this phrase to indicate AT&T overtly jacked the artists’ style and work, distinctive work which they have done for decades.  I would have sent an email asking the artists, but their portfolio web page indicates that they cannot be contacted in this way; and there was no reference to the AT&T commercial currently on the air.  See the commerical below and compare it to their body work at their portfolio web site and judge for yourself.  I say AT&T totally stole their art for a commercial.


Here are some of their best known art works, including a lovely video someone made and an interview with them both.


Christo & Jean-Claude

Valley Curtain, Rifle, Colorado, 1970 – 1972

You will see works such as Surrounded Islands in the Gardner’s art history text and many other sources.

Christo & Jean-Claud

Surrounded Islands, Miami, Florida, 1980 – 1983

Christo & Jean-Claud

The Gates in Central Park, New York City, 2003 – 2004

Their portfolio web page is wonderfully detailed and included project plans and initial sketches, showing a portion of the care and work that goes into their art:


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