“Gates” Artist Jeanne-Claude Remembered

The artist Jeanne-Claude, known for the large-scale public art projects she created with her husband and working partner Christo, died yesterday following a brain aneurysm, according to the AP.

From the couple’s Web site:

The art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude will continue.

Christo is dedicated to completing their current works in progress: Over The River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado, and The Mastaba, Project for the United Arab Emirates, as Jeanne-Claude would wish.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude met in Paris, France in November, 1958, sharing the same date of birth and have worked together for 51 years creating temporary works of art.

It is Jeanne-Claude’s wish that her body be donated to scientific research.

A memorial will be announced at a later date. Christo requests that flowers not be sent. Memorial gifts may be made to the charity of your choice.

Jeanne-Claude and Christo’s projects included wrapping buildings (The Reichstag, the Kunsthalle museum, the Pont Neuf) in fabric, and setting up chains of open umbrellas across landscapes in Japan and California.

In 2005, they built “The Gates”–miles of draped orange archways snaking through Central Park.

Writing in The Times, Michael Kimmelman called The Gates “a work of pure joy, a vast populist spectacle of good will and simple eloquence, the first great public art event of the 21st century.” He acknowledged that the oversize personas that the two artists cultivated had the potential to alienate skeptical New York viewers–but found that The Gates succeeded in winning over many of the dubious:

I was struck by what I overheard a stranger say. She was a doubter won over yesterday. “It will be fascinating when they’re gone,” she mused.

It took me a second to realize what she meant: that the gates, by ravishing the eye, have already impressed an image of the park on the memories of everyone who has seen them. And like all vivid memories, that image can take a place in the imagination, like a smell or some notes of music or a breeze, waiting to be rekindled.



“Gates” Artist Jeanne-Claude Remembered