Christo in his studio with a preparatory drawing for The Mastaba, 2012. Photo: Wolfgang Volz. © 2012 Christo.
by JILL SPALDING
I am shocked to the core to know that Christo has left us. Cliffs don’t leave us. Coastlines don't leave us. The Reichstag and the Pont Neuf are still here. Each was stamped by Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and his wife and artistic partner Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon with more than a passing intervention. Palimpsests all, but also actual and present. How is it possible that Christo is not?
Many artists have marked. Yves Klein autographed the sky; Jean Tinguely fashioned sculpture to self-destruct; Robert Smithson spiralled 6,650 tons of rock into Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Christo’s wrapped heroics reached another level altogether.
Eleven islands floated on Biscayne Bay in pink woven polypropylene fabric; 7,503 gates threaded through 23 miles of Central Park; sheets of fabric strung over chasms. And the mind boggles at the footprint of the projected Abu Dhabi Mastaba – outspacing, Christo gleefully told me, when I interviewed him for Studio International in 2018, the Great Pyramid of Giza with its bespoke 6 sq kilometres of desert. His elation was not mindless – he acknowledged the scope of his and Jeanne-Claude’s accomplishment. Yet even after losing her steadying hand, he downplayed its value. As he observed of the fabric joining three landmasses near Brescia to let people walk on water: “These projects are irrational, totally useless, the world can live without them”– existing only, he added, “because we like to have them.” They are his legacy and our gift. Thankfully, we shan’t have to live without the forthcoming silver-wrapped Arc de Triomphe. I don't know another artist who has made monuments of form, space, light and time.
Read here Jill Spalding’s interview with Christo, which took place in November 2018 at his studio in New York.
Christo's Gates: a New Yorker reflects
What began in 1979 with a few drawings has finally materialised into a huge 'happening' in New York, with the opening of 'The Gates: Central Park, New York, 1979-2005.' Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude Javacheff spent 26 years trying to persuade a succession of the city's mayors to allow them to use Central Park for a great art project, but it wasn't until their friend, Michael Bloomberg, was elected that permission was eventually granted.
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
Pallant House Gallery, which opened on 1 July 2006 in the centre of Chichester, is a dramatic conjunction of old and new - dramatic, that is, internally. From the exterior, as approached from the town, a seamless joining has been achieved by the architects with great dexterity and carefully calculated understatement.
Melbourne Art Fair 2006: A Celebration of Indigenous Art and Beyond
In August, more than 26,000 visitors flocked to the biennial Melbourne Art Fair, considered by the Australian Arts Council to be among the top three contemporary art events in the Asia Pacific region.
Christopher Dresser 1834-1904: A Design Revolution
With suitable training, it is possible to date a previously unseen artefact within a couple of decades, and perhaps more precisely. There are historical tidal movements in design and manufacture that enable one to locate an object in a particular cultural milieu and to rule out other possibilities.