CHRISTO AND JEANNE-CLAUDE
Christo (*1935) and Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009) have always compared their work to that of urban planners. And it is true that the projects they have carried out around the world since the 1960s not only have huge dimensions but are also at the centre of public debates and disputes – as is often the case with urban development plans. The very fact that their projects are subject to approval by local authorities makes them appear more like public construction projects than works of art. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s oeuvre has much in common with architecture and urban planning, and the immense impact it has on our perception of buildings and urban space is part of the artists’ fundamental intentions. For the first time, this book gives a comprehensive account of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s urban projects. It presents preparatory drawings, collages and models for many little-known works from the artists’ early career, some of which were never carried out, such as the planned wrapping of several New York City skyscrapers, as well as the spectacular large-scale projects of later years, such as the wrapping of the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris in 1985, the wrapping of the Reichstag building in Berlin in 1995 and the 2005 installation The Gates in New York’s Central Park. In two detailed essays, the authors of the book explore Christo’s extraordinary talent for drawing and investigate the artists’ ambivalent perspective on urban space, which oscillates between a powerful critique of the city’s impersonal modernism and a tribute to the liberal, democratic use of urban areas.