Rest in Peace: artist Christo

Written by Sara Black

Christo (Vladimirov Javacheff), the man behind many a fabric-wrapped landmark helped us reset our views of the familiar.

Sad news: Christo, one of my childhood art heroes, passed this week. Best know for large-scale, site-specific installations, Christo, along with his wife, artist Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, orchestrated the wrapping of Berlin’s historic Reichstag building, Paris’ Pont Neuf bridge and Miami’s Surrounded Islands (among others).

Why? Christo and Jean-Claude claimed that their projects had no deeper meaning that their immediate aesthetic impact. But I beg to differ. Sure, at first glance, these installations were monumentally beautiful from a visual standpoint but they allowed the viewer to interpret the sights in their own mind. Without prompting.

In my eight-year-old mind, when I first saw photos of Miami’s Surrounded islands project, I saw the juxtaposition of nature vs the man-made world.


christo surrounded islands florida

Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1983. Photography by Wolfgang Volz.

christo wrapped reichstag

Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971. Photography by Wolfgang Volz.

christo the floating piers italy

The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2016. Photography by Wolfgang Volz.

christo wrapped coast sydney
Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia, 1969. Photography by Shunk-Kender.
christo valley curtain colorado
Valley Curtain, Rifle, Colorado, 1972. Photography by Wolfgang Volz.

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