In his early twenties, Christo (Born Christo Javacheff in 1935) escaped the oppressive Communist regime in his native country of Bulgaria and wandered in exile throughout Europe, supporting himself primarily by painting commissioned portraits.
He has related his early wrapped-package works to the isolation and sadness of his coming of age in Bulgaria; the wheelbarrow, in particular, suggests a stateless, nomadic life. The package’s contents are suggested in the forms bulging beneath their cloth wrapping, but never revealed, for opening it would destroy the work.
In 1964, shortly after making Package on Wheelbarrow (1963), Christo relocated to New York. Since then, in partnership with his wife Jeanne-Claude (1935 – 2009) he has created many large-scale, temporary installations, wrapping buildings, bridges, trees and islands in fabric.
Oh man, this news breaks my heart so bad. Jeanne-Claude, one half of the husband and wife artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, has passed away of a brain aneurysm. I’ve been a huge fan of Jeanne–Claude and Christo for ages and ages, ever since I saw a documentary film about the making of their Running Fence project when I was in college. And just a few years ago I was fortunate to experience The Gates right here in NYC’s Central Park. The snow was a foot thick on the ground and it was freezing outside but nobody seemed to mind. It was so awesome. It’s so weird that even just yesterday I was on a high floor in the building where I work on Wall Street that had several framed pictures of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’sSurrounded Islands on display. Pictures of their artwork are all over this building. I am so sad right now. The following statement is from the website Christo Jeanne-Claude Dot Net.
“Jeanne-Claude, 74, American artist and resident of New York City, died suddenly November 18, 2009 as a result of complications due to a ruptured brain aneurysm. Christo is deeply saddened by the passing of his wife, partner and collaborator and is committed to honor the promise they made to each other many years ago: 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.”