Christo

Christo was a bulgarian artist working with his wife Jeanne-Claude. Their works include the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, the 24-mile (39 km)-long artwork called Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin counties in California, and The Gates in New York City's Central Park.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same date, Christo in Bulgaria, and Jeanne-Claude in Morocco. Christo studied art at the Sofia Academy before settling in Vienna and enrolling at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. After only one semester there, he moved to Paris. His life in Paris was characterized by financial hardship and social isolation. He earned money by painting portraits, which he likened to prostitution and signed with his family name "Javachef" while his early works were signed "Christo".

Jeanne-Claude studied Latin and philosophy at the University of Tunis. During World War II, she lived with her father's family while her mother fought in the French Resistance. She was described as "extroverted" and with natural organizational abilities. Her hair was dyed red and she smoked cigarettes. She took responsibility for overseeing work crews and for raising funds.

In 1961, Christo and Jeanne-Claude covered barrels at the port of Cologne, their first collaboration. In 1962, the couple tackled their first monumental project, Rideau de Fer (Iron Curtain). Without consent of authorities and as a statement against the Berlin Wall, they blocked off Rue Visconti, in Paris, it was their first work that make them famous. At the end of 1969 Jeanne-Claude and Christo wrapped the coast of Little Bay, in Sydney, Australia, the following year they began their preparations for the Valley Curtain project, in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado. In 1972, they began preparations for Running Fence: a fabric fence, running through the landscape and leading into the sea.

With "Wrapped Walk Ways" Christo and Jeanne-Claude covered 4.5 km of footpaths in Loose Park, a park in Kansas City, Missouri. They planned a project based on Jeanne-Claude's idea to surround eleven islands in Miami's Biscayne Bay with 603,850 m2 of pink polypropylene floating fabric. It was completed on 4 May 1983 with the aid of 430 workers and could be admired for two weeks. In 1984, the couple received permission to wrap the Pont-Neuf after nine years of negotiations. "The Umbrellas" was to have yellow umbrellas set up in California and blue umbrellas in Japan at the same time. In December 1990, after much preparation, the first steel bases for the umbrellas were installed. The wrapping of the Reichstag began on 17 June 1995. The spectacle was seen by five million visitors. In 1998, they wrapped 178 trees in Berower Park / Beyeler Foundation north-east of Basel.

In 2005, work began on the installation of the couple's most protracted project, The Gates, in Central Park in New York City. The cost of the project was $21 million US dollars which was raised entirely by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Christo and Jeanne-Claude announced plans for a future project, titled Over The River, to be constructed in Colorado, project plans call for its installation for two weeks during the summer of 2015.

Although their work is visually impressive and often controversial as a result of its scale, the artists have repeatedly denied that their projects contain any deeper meaning than their immediate aesthetic impact. The purpose of their art, they contend, is simply to create works of art or joy and beauty and to create new ways of seeing familiar landscapes.

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