Christo · Valley Curtain, 1975
Poster as exhibition announcement. The Oakland Museum.
29h x 23w in
73.66h x 58.42w cm
Christo (born June 13, 1935, Gabrovo, Bulgaria—died May 31, 2020, New York City, New York, U.S.) attended the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria, and had begun working with the Burian Theatre in Prague when the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 broke out. He fled to Vienna, where he studied for a semester, and then, after a brief stay in Switzerland, moved to Paris and began exhibiting his works with the nouveaux réalistes. While working there as a portrait artist, Christo met Jeanne-Claude de Guillebon, whom he married in 1959. Jeanne-Claude was once described as her husband’s publicist and business manager, but she later received equal billing with him in all creative and administrative aspects of their work. In 1964 the pair relocated to New York City, where their art was seen as a form of Arte Povera, an Italian art movement that challenged conventional art elitism through experiments with everyday materials.
Christo’s earliest sculptures were composed of cans and bottles—some as found and some painted or wrapped in paper, plastic, or fabric. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s first collaborative works included Dockside Packages (1961; Cologne), Iron Curtain—Wall of Oil Drums (1962; Paris), and Corridor Store Front(1968; New York City). In 1968 they also completed a suspended 18,375-foot (5,600-metre) “air package” over Minneapolis, Minnesota, and “wrapped buildings” in Bern, Switzerland; Chicago; and Spoleto, Italy. Their monumental later projects included Valley Curtain (1972; Rifle Gap, Colorado), Running Fence (1976; Marin and Sonoma counties, California), and Surrounded Islands(1983; Biscayne Bay, Florida). In 1985 in Paris, they wrapped the Pont Neuf(bridge) in beige cloth. In a 1991 project, the couple installed 1,340 giant blue umbrellas across the Sato River valley in Japan and 1,760 giant yellow ones in Tejon Pass, California. Four years later they wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin in metallic silver fabric. In 1995 the couple received the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for sculpture (taken from Encyclopedia Britannica-https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christo-and-Jeanne-Claude).