Christo (born 1935) was an American/Bulgarian artist who made a name for himself in the 1950sthrough his unique artistic process of wrapping familiar and found objects in cloth. This wrapping technique soon extended to architecture and natural landscapes, from the West Coast of the USA to the far Eastern coast of Japan. Christo slowly but surely encased the world in his art. He expanded the walls of the gallery into wide open space: in New York City he created “The Gates,” in Central Park, while in 1969 he cloaked the coast of Little Bay in Sydney, Australia in billowing fabric. These ephemeral constructions existed only for a moment in time, but are forever documented in photographs and in the striking illustrations made by Christo, which he often sold in order to fund future projects. Christo’s creations were grand gestures that drew crowds from around the world to marvel in their freedom of form. His works were entities that “exist in their time, impossible to repeat.”
In his youth, Christo attended the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria, but fled to Vienna in the wake of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. He then moved to Paris where he began exhibiting his works with the nouveaux réalistes, and met his wife and life-long collaborator, Jean Claude in 1959. Five years later, they moved to New York City where they continued to embark on the large-scale installations that defined their intertwined careers. Their disruption of familiar landscapes aligned them with the land art movement of the 1970s, though their work escaped definition, and as Christo told the Sunday Times, “We make beautiful things, unbelievably useless, totally unnecessary.” Jean Claude died in 2009, and Christo died May 31st of 2020, at the age of 84.
- In partnership with TASCHEN Books, we offer two deluxe volumes documenting Christo and Jeanne-Claude's legendary projects The Gates and The Floating Piers. View the books.