Christo and Jeanne-Claude differentiate between the "software" and the "hardware" period of a project. The software period is the time during which the project exists only on Christo’s preparatory works of art and in the imagination of the artists. The hardware period is the time during which the project is physically built and exhibited.

  • 1958
  • 1959
  • 1960
  • 1961
  • 1962
  • 1963
  • 1964
  • 1965
  • 1966
  • 1967
  • 1968
  • 1969
  • 1970
  • 1971
  • 1972
  • 1973
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  • 1975
  • 1976
  • 1977
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  • 1979
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  • 1985
  • 1986
  • 1987
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  • 2011
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  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • Surfaces d'Empaquetage and Cratères

    Surfaces d'Empaquetage and Cratères

    Christo created a series of relief-like surface textures starting in 1958 with his works entitled Surfaces d’Empaquetage. These were pieces of fabric or paper, mostly crumpled and crushed, that Christo folded and covered with several thin layers of dark brown lacquer.

    Discontinuities and disruptions of the surface exposing the material beneath still testify to the vehemence of the production process. In addition, sand particles in the lacquer and the crumpled surface give a weathered impression of the kind that was to become characteristic of Christo’s earliest packagings.

    With their impasto surfaces, these works already testify clearly to Christo’s basic avant-garde attitude. What he found fascinating in the work of his contemporaries was the often aggressive integration of substances alien to art. All the works of art that aroused his interest had one thing in common: a rich, tactile surface.

    After visiting an exhibition with works by Jean Dubuffet in 1959, Christo undertook another series of relief-like surface structures, his Cratères series. The many thick layers of dark brown paint almost give the works the character of objects. They thus exemplify Christo's increasing interest in the three-dimensional object.

    In some of the works, Christo attached empty, used paint cans to the base in various places before covering the whole work with a mixture of sand, enamel and glue, creating a textural mesh of furrows, trenches and craters that penetrate the pictorial space. Christo transforms a horizontal crater landscape into a vertical wall relief, comparable to Daniel Spoerri's trap-pictures in which the remains of a meal are attached to a table top and then upended to hang vertically.

    Other works in the Cratères series, with their overlapping surface structure and three-dimensionality, are reminiscent of Lucio Fontana. Fontana's controlled destruction of the canvas made a strong impression on Christo. Punctures and slashes in the jagged surface of Christo's works allow a glimpse of the wall behind the work. The relief does not protrude so much as it draws the observer's gaze inside the picture, from where the paint pours forth like a river of lava.

    Excerpt from the book Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Early Works 1958-64 by Matthias Koddenberg (Bönen: Kettler, 2009). Edited by the author in 2011.

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  • Wrapped Cans and Bottles

    Wrapped Cans and Bottles

    In March 1958, Christo arrived in Paris where he created his first wrapped cans. It started with a small, empty paint can, of which there were many lying around in his studio. Christo wrapped the insignificant object in resin-soaked canvas, tied it up and coated the result with a mixture of glue, varnish and sand and a thin layer of dark-black or brown lacquer.

    If we consider the fact that Christo always contrasted his wrapped cans with versions with no wrapping, it soon becomes clear that he was interested not only in the concealment of the object but also in the comparative analysis of the three-dimensional qualities of different objects, surfaces and materials. He had the choice of either wrapping the cans or painting them. Others he left unchanged, so that the company name or at least parts of it could still be deciphered under the many blotches of paint.

    The first of these ensembles was limited to only two cans, but soon whole groups appeared consisting of a variety of wrapped, painted and unaltered cans and bottles. It is important to point out that none of the works are mounted on a base, which implies that Christo did not explicitly prescribe the arrangement of the individual components. In reality, the cans, now scattered among collections, were once part of a large installation of wrapped, painted and unaltered cans, bottles and crates that Christo did between 1958 and 1960 and baptized Inventory. All the works were originally conceived to be presented in the corner of a room as an ensemble, roughly comparable to the household inventory that one piles in the corner of a room when one moves into a new house.

    In addition to the fact that the work has been fragmented into its separate parts, there is the aggravating circumstance that only fragments of the many pieces still exist today. When Christo and Jeanne-Claude moved to New York in 1964 and were unable to pay the rent on their storeroom in Gentilly, a suburb of Paris, their landlord threw all the works in the garbage. The only reason that some of the cans, bottles and barrels survived is that Christo had several small studios and storage rooms at the time, among them a basement room attached to the apartment belonging to Jeanne-Claude’s mother. It is believed, however, that the many crates, of which only a few black-and-white and color photos exist today, were all destroyed.

    Excerpt from the book Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Early Works 1958-64 by Matthias Koddenberg (Bönen: Kettler, 2009). Edited by the author in 2011.

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  • Packages


    Many of Christo's Packages give few clues as to what lies under the fabric. While the contents may be cans, bottles or other refuse of daily life, what is inside matters only in the shape it gives the work of art.

    Another important aspect of the Packages is their quality of nomadic fragility. The coarse, unremarkable and seemingly left-over fabrics used to wrap the everyday objects create an artwork that is both difficult and unpolished. These materials suggest the temporary and transitional nature of the work, much like the traveling bundles of nomadic life – the package exists, but for a short time and can cease to exist in the blink of an eye. The works of art make permanent what is usually an impermanent creation.

    Text by Adam Thomas Blackbourn, 2011.

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  • Wrapped Objects, Statues and Women

    Wrapped Objects, Statues and Women

    Christo’s Wrapped Objects explore the transformative effect fabric and tactile surfaces have when wrapped around familiar objects.

    The concealment caused by the fabric challenges the viewer to reappraise the objects beneath and the space in which it exists. For those Wrapped Objects that are packaged in translucent polyethylene, little is left to the imagination, but the material gives the everyday objects an additional sculptural quality.

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude brought this act of wrapping to much larger proportions when they applied it to the environment, whether in nature or with a man-made structure. While it is a common and important motif in the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the last time the two artists ever had an idea for wrapping was in 1975, when they started working on The Pont Neuf Wrapped, a work they realized in 1985.

    Text by Adam Thomas Blackbourn, 2011.

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  • Barrels


    Barrels proved to be suitable working material for Christo because of their sculptural effect and their low cost, and they soon became a dominant factor in his work. From 1958 onwards, many structures were created out of wrapped and unwrapped barrels. Whereas the wrapped cans and bottles were comparable to classical still lifes, the dimensions of the columns of barrels gave them a life-sized form. Their large size, coupled with their arrangement in groups, enhanced their physical effect over that of the smaller works.

    The use of barrels gained the upper hand from 1961 onwards when Christo erected a column of unaltered drums only in the courtyard behind his studio at 14 rue de Saint-Senoch for the first time. Christo carried the barrels he had collected and cleaned into the yard, stacked them one upon the other, had them photographed and then finally disassembled them.

    In the same year, he moved into a garage in Gentilly, a small suburb of Paris, belonging to his friend the painter Jan Voss. Since Christo’s tiny studio was bursting at the seams at the time, he used the additional space to store some of his works, but mostly to make some large-scale works that were too big for his own studio. Physically, none of these sculptures exist today, but not because Christo himself destroyed or dismantled them. It was his landlord who disposed of them when Christo was no longer in a position to pay the storeroom rent.

    By fate or coincidence, the Gentilly studio was located next to a huge yard used for storing drums that Christo would be able to use. The new, open space had an immediate effect on his works, most notably in their dimensions. He soon carried the principle of vertical stratification to monumental heights by stacking several barrels up to a height of fifteen feet along the freeway in Gentilly, increasing the drivers’ awareness of and sensitivity to their surroundings through the temporary artistic estrangement of the environment.

    The first time Christo had the opportunity to present his new structures to the larger public was at his solo exhibition in the Cologne gallery of Haro Lauhus in 1961. The visitors were welcomed in front of the entrance by a column of stacked barrels, and inside, Christo carried this motif to claustrophobic heights by filling a whole room with his barrel arrangements. The columns and towers of rusty steel drums reached to the ceiling and left only a small passage to get to the back room of the gallery. One newspaper secretly had five visitors photographed from inside as they stared, some amazed, some incredulous, through the window. Underneath the pictures was the headline: "The Most Controversial Exhibition Cologne Has Ever Seen."

    When Christo had a personal exhibition at Jeanine de Goldschmidt's Galerie J (Pierre Restany's Paris gallery) the following year, accompanying Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Iron Curtain at Rue Visconti, he installed a wall of rusty steel drums that occupied an entire wall in the gallery. The bottoms and lids, structured from brown and red to yellow and blue, must have seemed like an extreme enlargement of a pointillist painting.

    Enlarged reproductions of several ink drawings proposing the use of barrels to cover whole building fronts and lobbies were installed on the pillar in the middle of the gallery. Although these early projects were not realized, the drawings indicated the scope of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s imagination and their visionary approach to alter whole environments.

    Excerpts from the books Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Early Works 1958-64 (Bönen: Kettler, 2009) and Christo: The Paris Sculptures 1961 (Bönen: Kettler, 2011) by Matthias Koddenberg. Edited by the author in 2012.

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  • Wall of Oil Barrels - The Iron Curtain

    Rue Visconti, Paris
    Wall of Oil Barrels - The Iron Curtain

    During eight hours on the evening of June 27, 1962, Christo and Jeanne-Claude closed the Rue Visconti with 89 oil barrels. The art barricade was 13.7 x 13.2 x 2.7 feet (4.2 x 4 x 0.5 meters). It obstructed most of the traffic of the Paris Left Bank. The artists did not alter the industrial colors of the oil barrels, leaving the brand names and the rust visible.

    Rue Visconti is one of the narrowest streets in Paris. Since the sixteenth century many illustrious tenants lived in the houses of the Rue Visconti, such as Racine, Adrienne Lecouvreur, Delacroix and Balzac.

    The Berlin Wall had been built in August of 1961 and Algerian War protest demonstrations and barricades were taking place in Paris at the same time as Christo and Jeanne-Claude created the temporary work of art.

    Text from Christo and Jeanne-Claude for a permit application to the Préfecture de Paris (an agency of the Government of France):

    Rue Visconti is a one way street, between Rue Bonaparte and Rue de Seine, 140 meters long with an average width of 3 meters. The street ends at number 25 on the left side and at 26 on the right.

    It has few shops: a bookstore, a modern art gallery, an antique shop, and electrical supply shop, a grocery store ... "at the angle of Rue Visconti and Rue de Seine, the cabaret du Petit More (or Maure) was opened in 1618. The poet Saint-Amant, an assiduous customer, died there. The art gallery that now stands on the site of the tavern has fortunately retained the façade, the grille and the seventeenth-century sign." (p. 134, Rochegude/Clébert, Promenades dans les rues de Paris. Rive gauche, Éditions Denoël)

    The wall will be built between numbers 1 and 2, completely closing the street to traffic, and will cut all communication between Rue Bonaparte and Rue de Seine.

    Constructed solely with metal barrels used for transporting gasoline and oil (labeled with various brand names: ESSO, AZUR, SHELL, BP, and with a capacity of either 50 or 200 liters), the wall will be 4 meters high and 2.9 meters wide. Eight 50-liter-capacity barrels, or five 200-liter-capacity barrels, laid on their sides, will constitute the base. One hundred and fifty 50-liter-capacity barrels or eighty 200-liter-capacity barrels are necessary for the erection of the wall.

    This "iron curtain" can be used as a barricade during a period of public work in the street, or to transform the street into a dead end. Finally its principle can be extended to a whole area or an entire city.

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  • Stacked Oil Barrels and Dockside Packages

    Cologne Harbor
    Stacked Oil Barrels and Dockside Packages

    At the same time as Christo's first personal exhibition, at the Galerie Haro Lauhus, in Cologne in 1961, Christo and Jeanne-Claude created their first temporary outdoor environmental work of art. The gallery was near the waterfront of the River Rhine.

    With Dockside Packages, the artists used several stacks of large rolls of industrial paper, covering them with tarpaulins, which they secured with ropes. For Stacked Oil Barrels, Christo and Jeanne-Claude used a large number of oil drums, employing cranes and other machinery to stack them into large structures.

    With the permission of the Port Authority, all the materials were borrowed from the dockworkers. Stacked Oil Barrels and Dockside Packages were composed of separate parts of various sizes, each approximately 16.4 x 6.5 x 32.8 feet (5 x 2 x 10 meters).

    The temporary work of art remained for two weeks.

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  • L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped

    Project for Paris

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, initially planned for the fall 2020, has been postponed by one year. The new dates are: Saturday, September 18 to Sunday, October 3, 2021.

    Christo, in close collaboration with the Centre des Monuments Nationaux and the Centre Pompidou, will create a temporary artwork in Paris entitled L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris), Place de l'Étoile – Charles de Gaulle. This work of art will be on view for 16 days from Saturday, September 18 to Sunday, October 3, 2021. The Arc de Triomphe will be wrapped in 25,000 square meters of recyclable polypropylene fabric in silvery blue, and 7,000 meters of red rope.

    As a prelude to L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, a major exhibition, presented at the Centre Georges Pompidou, will retrace Christo and Jeanne-Claude's years in Paris from 1958 to 1964, as well as the story of The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Project for Paris, 1975-85. "The exhibition at the Centre Pompidou will reveal the historical context of the period during which we lived and worked in Paris," says Christo.

    In 1961, three years after they met in Paris, Christo and Jeanne-Claude began creating works of art in public spaces. One of their projects was to wrap a public building. At the time, Christo, who was renting a small room near the Arc de Triomphe, made several studies of a project there, including, in 1962, a photomontage of the Arc de Triomphe wrapped, seen from the Avenue Foch. In the 1970s and 1980s, Christo created a few additional studies. Almost 60 years later, the project will finally be concretized.

    L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped will be entirely funded by Christo through the sale of his preparatory studies, drawings and collages of the project as well as scale models, works from the 1950s and 1960s and original lithographs on other subjects. It will receive no public funds.

    The Centre des monuments nationaux, the government institution that manages the Arc de Triomphe, is pleased about the realization of a project that demonstrates its commitment to contemporary creation and that honors one of the most emblematic monuments in Paris and in France.

    The Eternal Flame, in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe, will continue to burn throughout the preparation and display of the artwork. As always, veterans associations and volunteers committed to the values of the French Republic will ensure the continuity of remembrance and the daily ceremony of rekindling the flame that pays homage to the Unknown Soldier and those who lost their lives fighting for France.

    "Thirty-five years after Jeanne-Claude and I wrapped the Pont-Neuf, I am eager to work in Paris again to realize our project for the Arc de Triomphe," says Christo.

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  • Show Cases, Show Windows and Store Fronts

    Show Cases, Show Windows and Store Fronts

    In 1963, still in Paris, Christo had begun making the Show Cases. He acquired small glass display cases or medicine cabinets at the flea market and turned their function around by hanging fabric or pasting paper on the inside of the panes. In some cases he illuminated the inside of the showcases with a light bulb or suggested luxurious decadence by lining the inside with satin or silk.

    If the Show Cases were more like little meditations comparable to the early Wrapped Cans or Packages, the proportions of the life-sized Show Windows and Store Fronts that were done after Christo and Jeanne-Claude had emigrated to New York in 1964 recalled the gigantic dimensions of New York architecture.

    Made out of architectural elements found in scrap heaps and the remnants of demolished buildings, the first Store Fronts have surfaces with a patina that exude the charm of the old and used. What Christo reveals to the observer is no more than a pretence. The display windows of the suggested stores are draped with fabric or wrapping paper and the doors are securely locked.

    In 1965, a decisive change occurred in the design of Christo's Store Fronts. The charm of hand-craft gave way to an industrial frigidity, the warm color tones of previous Store Fronts changing into cold and clinically polished metallic surfaces.

    The Show CasesShow Windows and Store Fronts have elements that have been carried throughout the artists' career. The curtains of fabric draped on the inside of the panes can be seen as forerunners of such projects as the Valley Curtain, the Running Fence or The Gates. The brown wrapping paper that is used in some of the works anticipate the Covered Windows at the Museum Haus Lange. Also, the Show CasesShow Windows and Store Fronts are the first works not to include wrapping. The outer structures are not hidden but function as independent sculptures. While smaller objects were prevalent in the early 1960s, from 1964 Christo and Jeanne-Claude's interest turned into altering whole rooms and environments.

    Excerpt from the book Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Early Works 1958-64 by Matthias Koddenberg (Bönen: Kettler, 2009). Edited by the author in 2011.

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  • 42,390 Cubic Feet Package

    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    42,390 Cubic Feet Package

    In October 1966, at the Minneapolis School of Art, with the assistance of 147 students, Christo and Jeanne-Claude completed the 42,390 Cubic Feet Package.

    The core of the air package was comprised of four United States Army high altitude research balloons, each measuring about 18 feet (5.5 meters) in height and 25 feet (7.6 meters) in diameter, each independently sealed, plus 2,800 colored balloons, averaging 28 inches (71 cm) in diameter.

    All the balloons were inflated, sealed and then wrapped in 8,000 square feet (740 square meters) of clear polyethylene, which was sealed with Mylar tape and secured with 3,000 feet (914 meters) of Manila rope. The resulting oblong package was further inflated by two air blowers.

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude originally intended to fly the 42,390 Cubic Feet Package from the school campus to the front lawn of the nearby Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Although the high altitude research balloons individually weighed a mere 10 pounds (4.5 kg), the total weight of the air package was 500 pounds (225 kg). Because of gusty air turbulence, the Aviation Agency forbade the planned airlift and the helicopter lifted the air package only 20 feet (6 meters) off the ground.

    In return for an original drawing, art collectors and friends of the artists Helen and David Johnson paid for the rental of the helicopter and the pilot’s fee. To cover the other costs of the project, Christo created an edition of 100 Wrapped Boxes that, unlike Christo’s usual wrapping, resembled ordinary parcels and were mailed to members of the Contemporary Arts Group. Those members who inadvertently opened the mailed boxes found inside each one a signed and numbered certificate stating: "You have just destroyed a work of art."

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  • 5,600 Cubicmeter Package

    documenta IV, Kassel
    5,600 Cubicmeter Package

    At the occasion of the documenta IV in 1968, in Kassel, Germany, Christo and Jeanne-Claude created the largest ever inflated structure without a skeleton. After three unsuccessful attempts, it was erected on August 3, 1968, with the assistance of five cranes, two of which were 230 feet (70 meters) high and weighed 200 tons each.

    The pair of giant cranes, the tallest Europe had to offer, had been operating separately in northern France and in Hamburg, Germany. It took two weeks just to make arrangements for both cranes to arrive simultaneously in Kassel, to elevate the inflated air package from its horizontal position on the ground to its vertical position.

    The 7 ton air package consisted of an envelope made of 21,528 square feet (2,000 square meters) of Trevira fabric coated with PVC and tied with ropes. The heat-sealed fabric envelope was restrained by a net made of 11,482 feet (3,500 meters) of rope specially prepared by professional riggers and secured by 1,200 knots.

    The elevation took 9 hours. Once elevated, the 5,600 Cubicmeter Package stood 280 feet (85 meters) tall, with a diameter of 32.8 feet (10 meters). Chief engineer Dimiter Zagoroff designed a three-and-a-half ton, 36-foot (11-meter) diameter steel cradle-like base to support the air package 36 feet (11 meters) above the ground. The steel cradle was hinged on a central steel column anchored in a one-ton concrete foundation.

    Air pressure was maintained by a centrifugal blower run by a variable-speed electric motor. A gasoline generator stood by in case of power failure. To keep the air package in its vertical position, steel guy wires were anchored to 12 embedded concrete foundations, six 10-ton and six 18-ton, which were completely removed when the air package was taken down three months later.

    All expenses of the project were borne by Christo and Jeanne-Claude through the sale of original drawings, collages and early works of the fifties and sixties.

    The land was restored to its original condition.

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  • Wrapped Kunsthalle

    Bern, Switzerland
    Wrapped Kunsthalle

    A Swiss art museum, the Kunsthalle in Bern, gave the artists their first opportunity to fully wrap an entire building. July 1968, marked the fiftieth anniversary of the museum and the event was celebrated with an international group show of environmental works by twelve artists. As one of the dozen participants, Christo and Jeanne-Claude showed nothing inside the museum, but literally packaged the entire exhibition. "We took the environments by eleven other artists," Christo remarked with amusement, "and wrapped them. We had our whole environment inside."

    The artists shrouded the Kunsthalle with 26,156 square feet (2,430 square meters) of reinforced polyethylene, which was left over from the discarded first skin of the Kassel Air Package, secured it with 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) of nylon rope and made a slit in front of the main entrance so visitors could enter the building.

    The Kunsthalle is a bulky-looking building, despite its curved walls and sloping roof, but its hulking silhouette was considerably softened by the mantle of translucent polyethylene. The only architectural elements that remained visible with any sharpness and clarity were the contours of the roof and cornices. The sides of the building were luxuriously swaged and the plastic veiling was continually animated by soft, billowing folds and an always-changing pattern of glimmering highlights.

    The wrapping process took six days with the help of eleven construction workers. Because no nails could be driven into the building, special wooden supports had to be built for fastening the fabric to the building and at one point, to facilitate work on the roof, the local fire brigade was called upon to lend a hydraulic ladder.

    Insurance companies refused to underwrite the Kunsthalle and its valuable contents during the period it was wrapped, so to guard against possible fire and vandalism, the museum's director Harald Szeemann had six watchmen posted around the building at all times. As this proved to be quite expensive, the building was unwrapped after one week.

    Excerpt from the book Christo by David Bourdon, Harry N. Abrams Publishers, New York, 1971. Edited in 2011.

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  • 1,240 Oil Barrels Mastaba

    Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    1,240 Oil Barrels Mastaba

    The 1,240 Oil Barrels Mastaba was realized in conjunction with Christo’s exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. The temporary installation was on view from October 5 to November 11, 1968.

    The mastaba was made of 1,240 multicolored oil barrels, stacked in the museum’s atrium. The installation was almost two stories high, filling the whole fifty-by-fifty-foot gallery so that visitors could barely go around the structure.

    It was the first time Christo and Jeanne-Claude had succeeded to do a large mastaba. The project was preceded by several other proposals, amongst them plans for Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence, documenta IV in Kassel and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, all of which were not realized.

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  • Wrapped Coast

    One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia
    Wrapped Coast

    Coordinator: John Kaldor

    Little Bay, property of Prince Henry Hospital, is located 9 miles (14.5 kilometers), southeast of the center of Sydney. The cliff-lined South Pacific Ocean shore area that was wrapped is approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) long, 150 to 800 feet (46 to 244 meters) wide, 85 feet (26 meters) high at the northern cliffs and was at sea level at the southern sandy beach.

    One million square feet (92,900 square meters) of erosion-control fabric (synthetic woven fiber usually manufactured for agricultural purposes) were used for the wrapping. 35 miles (56.3 kilometers) of polypropylene rope, 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) in diameter, tied the fabric to the rocks. Ramset guns fired 25,000 charges of fasteners, threaded studs and clips to secure the rope to the rocks.

    Major Ninian Melville, retired from the Army Corps of Engineers, was in charge of the climbers and workers at the site. 17,000 manpower hours, over a period of four weeks, were expended by 15 professional mountain climbers, 110 workers (architecture and art students from the University of Sydney and East Sydney Technical College), as well as a number of Australian artists and teachers. All climbers and workers were paid, with the exception of 11 architecture students who refused to be paid.

    The project was financed entirely by Christo and Jeanne-Claude through the sale of Christo’s original preparatory drawings, collages, scale models, early Packages and Wrapped Objects of the 1950s and 1960s and lithographs. The artists do not accept sponsorships of any kind.

    The coast remained wrapped for a period of ten weeks from October 28, 1969. Then all materials were removed and recycled and the site was returned to its original condition.

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  • Wrapped Fountain and Wrapped Medieval Tower

    Spoleto, Italy
    Wrapped Fountain and Wrapped Medieval Tower Wrapped Fountain and Wrapped Medieval Tower

    In July 1968, in conjunction with the Festival of Two Worlds, Christo and Jeanne-Claude almost wrapped the Spoleto opera house, the three-story-high Teatro Nuovo, an eighteenth-century building that is one of the principal attractions of the small mountaintop town in Central Italy. Again, Christo and Jeanne-Claude were prevented from wrapping the building, this time by fire laws.

    While Christo was working in Switzerland, creating the Wrapped Kunsthalle in Bern, Jeanne-Claude was invited to look around the town of Spoleto and, instead of the opera house, after consulting Christo on the telephone, she chose to wrap a medieval tower and a baroque fountain at the market place.

    The tall square tower, standing like a shrouded sentinel at one end of a medieval causeway, was one of the first landmarks on the road winding into Spoleto, providing an eerie indication of the curious blend of old and new cultures at the Festival of Two Worlds.

    In the main piazza in the center of town, the Wrapped Fountain struck a festive note, with the white woven polypropylene fabric and rope extending over the entire side of a four-story building, the silhouette of which resembled a baroque church façade. The cloth shimmered like white satin in the sunlight and became tremulous in the slightest whisper of a breeze.

    Both wrappings remained up for three weeks, the duration of the festival.

    Because of the simultaneous timing of the two projects in Italy and Switzerland, Christo never saw the Wrapped Medieval Tower and the Wrapped Fountain in Spoleto, while Jeanne-Claude never saw the Wrapped Kunsthalle in Bern. That same summer, together, they completed the 5,600 Cubicmeter Package in Kassel, Germany.

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  • Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art and Wrapped Floor and Stairway

    Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art and Wrapped Floor and Stairway Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art and Wrapped Floor and Stairway

    If any building ever needed wrapping, it was Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, a banal, one-story edifice (with a below-ground gallery) having about as much architectural charm as an old shoe box. Built in the early 1900s, it had once been a bakery and, later, the headquarters of Playboy Enterprises.

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude considered the building "perfect," because "it looks like a package already, very anonymous. Its façade is a fake wall covering the original structure." Although they had just wrapped the Kunsthalle Bern in translucent polypropylene, the artists decided "for aesthetic reasons" to shroud the Chicago museum in greenish-brown tarpaulin, which would give greater physical presence to the building and make a better contrast with the snow.

    The wrapping commenced on January 15, 1969. Students from the school of the Chicago Art Institute of Design assisted for two days on the outside of the building, which was garbed in 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of heavy tarpaulin and 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) of Manila rope. Every precaution was taken to assure the public’s safety. No exits were covered, no windows existed to cover, and small openings were cut in the tarpaulin to keep the building's air vents unobstructed. To be doubly safe, the museum's director, Jan van der Marck, prevailed upon Christo and Jeanne-Claude not to wrap the roof of the museum.

    The finished package had a stateliness and sobriety that considerably enhanced the building. In contrast to the Bern Kunsthalle, with its translucent veil billowing like a loose summer garment, the Chicago museum was tightly swathed in heavy tarpaulins, as if bundled against the city's blustery winter winds and snow. As a finishing touch, Christo wrapped the vertical signpost outside the museum in transparent polyethylene.

    In conjunction with the wrapping of the museum, the artists made a complementary work for the interior, Wrapped Floor and Stairway. The museum’s lower gallery had first been emptied of everything and then painted white. When the painters were through they removed their drop cloths and Christo and Jeanne-Claude laid 2,800 square feet (260 square meters) of their off-white drop cloth, secured with ropes. The cotton drop cloths had been carefully selected for their particular color and texture.

    Excerpt from the book Christo by David Bourdon, Harry N. Abrams Publishers, New York, 1971. Edited in 2011.

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  • Wool Works

    Keith Murdoch Court, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
    Wool Works

    Wool Works, a temporary indoor installation, was completed at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the centre of Australia’s wool industry, on October 30, 1969. It remained in place until November 30, 1969.

    The project saw a large stack of wool bales, 50 feet (15.2 meters) long, 8.3 feet (2.5 meters) wide and 10 (3 meters) feet high, installed in the museum’s Keith Murdoch Court. Dark tarpaulin, tied with rope, covered the top three-quarters of the structure. An additional seventy-five bales of opened, partially opened and unopened wool were arranged in rows in the tower gallery surrounding the court.

    The project was realized in conjunction with Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s visit to Australia, of which the principal part was the Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia, 1968-69.

    A small exhibition of preparatory collages and drawings for Wool Works was shown at the same time in the museum’s temporary exhibitions gallery.

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  • Wrapped Floor and Stairway

    Wide White Space Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium
    Wrapped Floor and Stairway

    The installation of Wrapped Floor and Stairway was completed on May 20, 1969, and remained in place until June 6, 1969.

    The entire floor of the gallery, which had been emptied of everything and then painted white, as well as the Flemish staircase with its banister and handrail were covered with house painters' cotton drop cloths.   

    Although the transformation was minimal, it drastically altered the space, generating an atmosphere of silence and spiritual tranquility.

    As visitors walked on the fabric it changed into rhythmic ripples and folds with a high degree of textural surface and nuance.

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  • Wrapped Stairway, Floor and Walls

    Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania
    Wrapped Stairway, Floor and Walls

    In 1970, university students in Philadelphia asked Christo and Jeanne-Claude to create a work of art to celebrate the first Earth Day. The artists requested permission from Dr. Evan Turner, Director of the Philadelphia Museum, to realize Wrapped Stairway, Floor and Walls at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in the museum's grand entrance.

    With the help of the students, using house painters’ cotton drop cloths, the artists completed the work in two days. The work of art remained in place for two weeks.

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  • Wrapped Monuments

    Milan, Italy
    Wrapped Monuments Wrapped Monuments

    The monument to the king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II, on Piazza del Duomo, and the monument to Leonardo da Vinci, on Piazza della Scala, were wrapped with polypropylene fabric and red polypropylene rope, in the fall of 1970, in Milan, Italy.

    The fabric had been sewn beforehand according to patterns allowing ample folds. The two wrapped monuments could be seen from the center of the Galleria, simultaneously, at each extremity of the XIX-century grand vaulted pedestrian shopping passageway. The monument to Vittorio Emanuele II projected in front of the late XIV-century-cathedral, the Duomo, while the monument to Leonardo da Vinci was situated in front of the XVIII-century La Scala theater and the Milan City Hall.

    All expenses were borne by the artists.

    The Wrapped Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II remained for two days, while the Wrapped Monument to Leonardo da Vinci remained for one week.

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  • Valley Curtain

    Rifle, Colorado
    Valley Curtain

    On August 10, 1972, in Rifle, Colorado, between Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs in the Grand Hogback Mountain Range, at 11 am a group of 35 construction workers and 64 temporary helpers, art-school and college students, and itinerant art workers tied down the last of 27 ropes that secured the 200,200 square feet (18,600 square meters) of woven nylon fabric orange curtain to its moorings at Rifle Gap, 7 miles (11.3 km) north of Rifle, on Highway 325.

    Valley Curtain was designed by Dimiter Zagoroff and John Thomson of Unipolycon of Lynn, Massachusetts, and Dr. Ernest C. Harris of Ken R. White Company, Denver, Colorado. It was built by A and H Builders, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado, President Theodore Dougherty, under the site supervision of Henry B. Leininger.

    Because the curtain was suspended at a width of 1,250 feet (381 meters) and a height curving from 365 feet (111 meters) at each end to 182 feet (55.5 meters) at the center, the curtain remained clear of the slopes and the valley bottom. A 10-foot-(3-meter)-skirt attached to the lower part of the curtain visually completed the area between the thimbles and the ground.

    An outer cocoon enclosed the fully fitted curtain for protection during transit and for the time of when it was raised into position. It was then secured to 11 cable-clamps connections at the 4 main upper cables. The cables spanned 1,368 feet (417 meters), weighed 61 tons and were anchored to 864 tons of concrete foundations.

    An inner cocoon, integral to the curtain, provided added insurance. The bottom of the curtain was laced to a 3-inch-(7.6-centimeter)-diameter Dacron rope from which the control and tie-down lines ran to the 27 anchors.

    The Valley Curtain project took 28 months to complete.

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s temporary work of art was financed by the Valley Curtain Corporation (Jeanne-Claude Christo-Javacheff, President) through the sale of the studies, preparatory drawings and collages, scale models, early works and original lithographs. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind.

    On August 11, 1972, 28 hours after completion of the Valley Curtain, a gale estimated in excess of 60 mph (96.6 kph) made it necessary to start the removal.

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  • Wrapped Floor, Wrapped Stairs, Covered Windows and Wrapped Walk Ways

    Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany
    Wrapped Floor, Wrapped Stairs, Covered Windows and Wrapped Walk Ways

    The architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the Haus Lange in Krefeld, Germany as a private home, combining the indoor with the outdoor. Large "picture windows" allow the light and the natural landscape to enter the rooms. The building later became a museum.

    For the Wrapped Floor, Wrapped Stairs, Covered Windows and Wrapped Walk Ways, Christo and Jeanne-Claude placed brown wrapping paper on the inside part of the glass of all the windows, creating a diffused honey-colored light throughout the interior. The artists covered the floor and stairs with folds of house painters' cotton fabric drop cloths. At the same time, the artists covered the walkways in the garden of the museum.

    The installation was completed on May 9, 1971, and remained in place until June 27, 1971.

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  • Wrapped Reichstag

    Wrapped Reichstag

    After a struggle spanning the seventies, eighties and nineties, the wrapping of the Reichstag was completed on June 24, 1995 by a work force of 90 professional climbers and 120 installation workers. The Reichstag remained wrapped for 14 days and all materials were recycled.

    1,076,390 square feet (100,000 square meters) of thick woven polypropylene fabric with an aluminum surface and 9.7 miles (15.6 kilometers) of blue polypropylene rope, diameter 1.26 inch (3.2 centimeters), were used for the wrapping of the Reichstag. The façades, the towers and the roof were covered by 70 tailor-made fabric panels, twice as much fabric as the surface of the building.

    The work of art was entirely financed by the artists, as in all previous projects, through the sale of preparatory studies, drawings, collages, scale models as well as early works and original lithographs. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind.

    The Wrapped Reichstag represents not only 24 years of efforts in the lives of the artists but also years of team work by its leading members Michael S. Cullen, Wolfgang and Sylvia Volz, and Roland Specker.

    The Reichstag stands up in an open, strangely metaphysical area. The building has experienced its own continuous changes and perturbations: built in 1894, burned in 1933, almost destroyed in 1945, it was restored in the sixties, but the Reichstag always remained the symbol of Democracy.

    Throughout the history of art, the use of fabric has been a fascination for artists. From the most ancient times to the present, fabric forming folds, pleats and draperies is a significant part of paintings, frescoes, reliefs and sculptures made of wood, stone and bronze. The use of fabric on the Reichstag follows the classical tradition. Fabric, like clothing or skin, is fragile; it translates the unique quality of impermanence.

    For a period of two weeks, the richness of the silvery fabric, shaped by the blue ropes, created a sumptuous flow of vertical folds highlighting the features and proportions of the imposing structure, revealing the essence of the Reichstag.

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  • Running Fence

    Sonoma and Marin Counties, California
    Running Fence

    Running Fence: 18 feet (5.5 meters) high, 24.5 miles (39.4 kilometers) long, extending east-west near Freeway 101, north of San Francisco, on the private properties of 59 ranchers, following the rolling hills and dropping down to the Pacific Ocean at Bodega Bay. The Running Fence was completed on September 10, 1976.

    The art project consisted of 42 months of collaborative efforts, the ranchers’ participation, 18 public hearings, three sessions at the Superior Courts of California, the drafting of a 450-page Environmental Impact Report and the temporary use of the hills, the sky and the ocean.

    All expenses for the temporary work of art were paid by Christo and Jeanne-Claude through the sale of studies, preparatory drawings and collages, scale models and original lithographs. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind.

    Running Fence was made of 2,152,780 square feet (200,000 square meters) of heavy woven white nylon fabric, hung from a steel cable strung between 2,050 steel poles (each 21 feet/6.4 meters long, 3.5 inch/8.9 cm in diameter) embedded 3 feet (91 centimeters) into the ground, using no concrete and braced laterally with guy wires (90 miles/145 kilometers of steel cable) and 14,000 earth anchors. The top and bottom edges of the 2,050 fabric panels were secured to the upper and lower cables by 350,000 hooks.

    All parts of Running Fence’s structure were designed for complete removal and no visible evidence of Running Fence remains on the hills of Sonoma and Marin Counties.

    As it had been agreed with the ranchers and with county, state and federal agencies, the removal of Running Fence started 14 days after its completion and all materials were given to the ranchers.

    Running Fence crossed 14 roads and the town of Valley Ford, leaving passage for cars, cattle and wildlife. It was designed to be viewed by following 40 miles (64 kilometers) of public roads, in Sonoma and Marin Counties.

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  • The Wall - Wrapped Roman Wall

    Via Veneto and Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy
    The Wall - Wrapped Roman Wall

    Height: 49 feet (15 meters)
    Length: 820 feet (250 meters)
    Depth: varying between 13 to 18 feet (4.3 to 5.5 meters)
    Materials: woven polypropylene fabric and Dacron rope

    In February and March 1974, for a period of 40 days, a 820-foot long section of the Aurelian Walls was wrapped in polypropylene and rope, covering both sides, the top and the arches of the wall. Forty construction workers completed the temporary work of art in four days.

    The nearly 2,000-year old wall was built by the Roman Emperors Aurelian and Probus and used to surround the city of Rome, Italy. The section selected by the artists for their temporary work of art was situated at the end of the Via Veneto, one of the busiest avenues of Rome, and at the edge of the gardens of the Villa Borghese.

    The project was coordinated by longtime friend Guido Le Noci, owner of the Galleria Apollinaire, who had given Christo two personal exhibitions in 1963.

    Out of the four arches that were wrapped, three arches were heavily used by car traffic and one arch was reserved for pedestrians.

    The Wrapped Roman Wall was financed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude through the sale of preparatory studies made by Christo: drawings, collages, scale models, as well as early packages and lithographs. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind.

    After 40 days the workers started the removal and all materials were recycled.

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  • Ocean Front

    Newport, Rhode Island
    Ocean Front

    Width: 420 feet (128 meters)
    Length: 320 feet (97.5 meters)

    For a period of 18 days, 150,000 square feet (13,935 square meters) of white woven polypropylene floating fabric covered the surface of the water of a half-moon-shaped cove at King's Beach in Newport, Rhode Island. The cove is located on the southern exposure of Ocean Drive, facing the portion of Long Island Sound that meets the Atlantic.

    Ocean Front, a temporary work of art, was financed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude through the sale of preparatory studies created by Christo: drawings, collages and scale models, as well as early works of the fifties and sixties and original lithographs. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind.

    Unipolycon engineers Dimiter (Mitko) Zagoroff and James Fuller designed the project and supervised its construction. The project was coordinated by William and Gail Crimmins.

    Work began at 6:00 am on Monday, August 19, 1974. The bundled fabric was passed from the truck to pairs of non-skilled workers wearing life jackets. They carried the 6,000 pound (2,721 kg) load of fabric to the water on two-by-fours stretched between them.

    The fabric was laced to a 420 foot (128 meter) long wooden boom secured with twelve Danforth anchors, holding in place the frontal edge of the floating fabric. 42 rebar stakes were driven into the shoreline rocks to secure the inland edges of the fabric that extended to the beach and rocks. The installation was completed in eight hours. The work of art remained for eight days.

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  • The Pont Neuf Wrapped

    The Pont Neuf Wrapped

    On September 22, 1985, a group of 300 professional workers completed the temporary work of art The Pont Neuf Wrapped. They had deployed 450,000 square feet (41,800 square meters) of woven polyamide fabric, silky in appearance and golden sandstone in color, covering:

    • The sides and vaults of the twelve arches, without hindering river traffic.
    • The parapets down to the ground.
    • The sidewalks and curbs (pedestrians walked on the fabric).
    • All the street lamps on both sides of the bridge.
    • The vertical part of the embankment of the western tip of the Île de la Cité.
    • The Esplanade of the Vert-Galant.

    The fabric was restrained by 8 miles (13 kilometers) of rope and secured by 12.1 tons of steel chains encircling the base of each tower, 3.3 feet (1 meter) underwater.

    The Charpentiers de Paris headed by Gérard Moulin, with French sub-contractors, were assisted by the USA engineers who had worked on Christo and Jeanne-Claude's previous projects, under the direction of Theodore Dougherty: Vahé Aprahamian, August L. Huber, James Fuller, John Thomson and Dimiter Zagoroff. Johannes Schaub, the project's director had submitted the work method and detailed plans and received approval for the project from the authorities of the City of Paris, the Department of the Seine and the State. 600 monitors, in crews of 40, led by Simon Chaput, were working around the clock maintaining the project and giving information, until the removal of the project on October 7.

    All expenses for The Pont Neuf Wrapped were borne by the artists as in their other projects through the sale of preparatory drawings and collages as well as earlier works. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind.

    Begun under Henri III, the Pont-Neuf was completed in July 1606, during the reign of Henry IV. No other bridge in Paris offers such topographical and visual variety, today as in the past. From 1578 to 1890, the Pont-Neuf underwent continual changes and additions of the most extravagant sort, such as the construction of shops on the bridge under Soufflot, the building, demolition, rebuilding and once again demolition of the massive rococo structure which housed the Samaritaine's water pump.

    Wrapping the Pont-Neuf continued this tradition of successive metamorphoses by a new sculptural dimension and transformed it, for 14 days, into a work of art. Ropes held down the fabric to the bridge's surface and maintained the principal shapes, accentuating relief while emphasizing proportions and details of the Pont-Neuf, which has joined the left and right banks and the Île de la Cité, the heart of Paris, for over 400 years.

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  • Wrapped Walk Ways

    Jacob Loose Park, Kansas City, Missouri
    Wrapped Walk Ways

    Coordinators: James Fuller, Theodore Dougherty and Dimiter Zagoroff

    Wrapped Walk Ways, in Jacob Loose Memorial Park, Kansas City, Missouri, consisted of the installation of 135,000 square feet (12,540 square meters) of saffron-colored nylon fabric covering 2.7 miles (4.4 kilometers) of formal garden walkways and jogging paths.

    Installation began on Monday, October 2, 1978, and was completed on Wednesday, October 4. 84 people were employed by A. L. Huber and Sons, a Kansas City building contractor, to install the fabric. There were 13 construction workers, 4 professional seamstresses and 67 students.

    After 52,000 feet (15,850 meters) of seams and hems had been sewn in a West Virginia factory, professional seamstresses, using portable sewing machines and assisted by many workers, completed the sewing in the park. The cloth was secured in place by 34,500 steel spikes (7 x 5/16 inch/17.8 x 0.8 centimeters) driven into the soil through brass grommets along the sides of the fabric, and 40,000 staples into wooden planks on the stairways.

    All expenses related to Wrapped Walk Ways were borne by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, as in all their other projects, through the sale of preparatory works created by Christo: drawings and collages, as well as earlier works and original lithographs. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind.

    The temporary work of art remained in the park until October 16, 1978, after which the material was removed and given to the Kansas City Parks Department for recycling, and the park was restored to its original condition.

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  • The Mastaba

    Project for the United Arab Emirates
    The Mastaba

    The Mastaba, a project for Abu Dhabi, was conceived in 1977.

    It will be the largest sculpture in the world, made from 410,000 multi-colored barrels to form a mosaic of bright sparkling colors, echoing Islamic architecture. The Mastaba is an ancient and familiar shape to the people of the region.

    The Mastaba will be 150 meters (492 feet) high, 225 meters (738 feet) deep at the 60 degree slanted walls and 300 meters (984 feet) wide at the vertical walls. The top of The Mastaba will be a horizontal surface 126.8 meters (416 feet) wide and 225 meters (738 feet) deep.

    The colors and the positioning of the 55-gallon steel barrels were selected by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1979, the year in which the artists visited the Emirate for the first time.

    The proposed area is inland, in Al Gharbia (Western Region) approximately 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of the city of Abu Dhabi, near the oasis of Liwa.

    In 2007 and 2008, Christo and Jeanne-Claude contracted professors of engineering from ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US, Cambridge University in the UK and Hosei University in Tokyo, Japan, to prepare structural feasibility studies about The Mastaba. All four teams worked independently and did not know of each other.

    The artists then hired the German engineering firm, Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, in Stuttgart, to analyze these reports. The Hosei University concept was found to be the most technically sound and innovative. The entire substructure as well as the layer of barrels will be assembled flat on the ground. Ten elevation towers will make it possible to raise the entire structure on rails to its final position in about 3 to 4 days.

    In 2012, Christo commissioned Pricewaterhouse Coopers to conduct analyses on the social and economic benefits of The Mastaba.

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s relationship with Abu Dhabi goes back to 1979 when they first visited the Emirate. They have returned many times since, creating a longstanding friendship with the people of Abu Dhabi.

    The Mastaba will be Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s only permanent large-scale work.

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  • Wrapped Floor and Covered Windows

    Galerie Art in Progress, Munich, Germany
    Wrapped Floor and Covered Windows

    Wrapped Floor and Covered Windows was completed at Galerie Art in Progress, Munich, on April 1, 1978. The temporary indoor installation preceded Christo’s personal exhibition, which included preparatory drawings and collages of realized and non-realized projects.

    Cotton drop cloths were placed on the floor, shrouding the entire ground as well as the furnishings and equipment of the gallery. Drop cloths are usually laid on floors and furniture by house painters to protect the interior of a house while they are painting the walls.

    The glass part of the windows was covered with brown wrapping paper, creating a honey-colored light. The experience was different walking through the rooms in the morning, at midday or towards nightfall.

    On April 15, the fabric was removed and the gallery’s interior was returned to its original state making way for Christo’s exhibition that was on display from April 16 to May 31, 1978.

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  • The Gates

    Central Park, New York City
    The Gates

    Chief Engineer and Director of Construction: Vince Davenport
    Project Director: Jonita Davenport
    Exclusive Photographer: Wolfgang Volz

    The installation in Central Park was completed with the blooming of the 7,503 fabric panels on February 12, 2005. The 7,503 gates were 16 feet (4.87 meters) tall and varied in width from 5 feet 6 inches to 18 feet (1.68 to 5.48 meters) according to the 25 different widths of walkways, on 23 miles (37 kilometers) of walkways in Central Park. Free-hanging saffron colored fabric panels, suspended from the horizontal top part of the gates, came down to approximately 7 feet (2.13 meters) above the ground. The gates were spaced at 12 feet (3.65 meter) intervals, except where low branches extended above the walkways. The gates and the fabric panels could be seen from far away through the leafless branches of the trees. The work of art remained for 16 days, then the gates were removed and the materials recycled.

    The 5 inch (12.7 cm) square vertical and horizontal poles were extruded in 60 miles (96.5 km) of saffron colored vinyl. The vertical poles were secured by 15,006 narrow steel base footings, 613 to 837 pounds (278 to 380 kilograms) each, positioned on the paved surfaces. No holes were made in the ground. The gates' components were fabricated, off-site, by seven manufacturers located on the East Coast of the USA. The weaving and sewing of the fabric panels was done in Germany.

    In teams of eight, 600 workers wearing The Gates uniforms, were responsible for installing 100 gates per team. The monitoring and removal teams included an additional 300 uniformed workers. The monitors assisted the public and gave information. All workers were financially compensated and received breakfast and one hot meal a day. Professional security worked in the park after dark.

    The Gates was entirely financed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, as they have done for all their previous projects. The artists do not accept sponsorship or donations.

    The grid pattern of the city blocks surrounding Central Park was reflected in the rectangular structure of the commanding saffron colored poles while the serpentine design of the walkways and the organic forms of the bare branches of the trees were mirrored in the continuously changing rounded and sensual movements of the free-flowing fabric panels in the wind.

    The people of New York continued to use the park as usual. For those who walked through The Gates, the saffron colored fabric was a golden ceiling creating warm shadows. When seen from the buildings surrounding Central Park, The Gates seemed like a golden river appearing and disappearing through the bare branches of the trees and highlighting the shape of the meandering footpaths.

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  • Surrounded Islands

    Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida
    Surrounded Islands

    On May 7, 1983, the installation of Surrounded Islands was completed in Biscayne Bay, between the city of Miami, North Miami, the Village of Miami Shores and Miami Beach. Eleven of the islands situated in the area of Bakers Haulover Cut, Broad Causeway, 79th Street Causeway, Julia Tuttle Causeway, and Venetian Causeway were surrounded with 6.5 million square feet (603,870 square meters) of floating pink woven polypropylene fabric covering the surface of the water and extending out 200 feet (61 meters) from each island into the bay. The fabric was sewn into 79 patterns to follow the contours of the 11 islands.

    For two weeks, Surrounded Islands, spreading over 7 miles (11.3 kilometers), was seen, approached and enjoyed by the public, from the causeways, the land, the water and the air. The luminous pink color of the shiny fabric was in harmony with the tropical vegetation of the uninhabited verdant islands, the light of the Miami sky and the colors of the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay.

    Since April 1981, attorneys Joseph Z. Fleming, Joseph W. Landers, marine biologist Anitra Thorhaug, ornithologists Oscar Owre and Meri Cummings, mammal expert Daniel Odell, marine engineer John Michel, four consulting engineers, and builder-contractor, Ted Dougherty of A and H Builders, Inc. had been working on the preparation of the Surrounded Islands. The marine and land crews picked up debris from the eleven islands, putting refuse in bags and carting it away after they had removed some forty tons of varied garbage that included refrigerator doors, tires, kitchen sinks, mattresses and an abandoned boat.

    Permits were obtained from the following governmental agencies: The Governor of Florida and the Cabinet; the Dade County Commission; the Department of Environmental Regulation; the City of Miami Commission; the City of North Miami; the Village of Miami Shores; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management.

    The outer edge of the floating fabric was attached to a 12 inch (30.5 centimeter) diameter octagonal boom, in sections, of the same color as the fabric. The boom was connected to the radial anchor lines which extended from the anchors at the island to the 610 specially made anchors, spaced at 50 foot (15.2 meter) intervals, 250 feet (76.2 meters) beyond the perimeter of each island, driven into the limestone at the bottom of the bay. Earth anchors were driven into the land, near the foot of the trees, to secure the inland edge of the fabric, covering the surface of the beach and disappearing under the vegetation. The floating rafts of fabric and booms, varying from 12 to 22 feet (3.7 to 6.7 meters) in width and from 400 to 600 feet (122 to 183 meters) in length were towed through the bay to each island. There were eleven islands, but on two occasions, two islands were surrounded together as one configuration.

    As with Christo and Jeanne-Claude's previous art projects, Surrounded Islands was entirely financed by the artists, through the sale of preparatory drawings, collages, and early works. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind.

    On May 4, 1983, out of a total work force of 430, the unfurling crew began to blossom the pink fabric. Surrounded Islands was tended day and night by 120 monitors in inflatable boats. Surrounded Islands was a work of art underlining the various elements and ways in which the people of Miami live, between land and water.

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  • Wrapped Floor and Covered Windows

    Institute for Art and Urban Resources, P.S.1, New York City
    Wrapped Floor and Covered Windows

    P.S.1 (now MoMA PS1) was founded in 1971 as the Institute for Art and Urban Resources, an organization with the mission of turning abandoned, underutilized buildings in New York City into artist studios and exhibition spaces. In 1976, the center opened in a Romanesque Revival public school building dating from 1892, which originally served as the first school in Long Island City until 1963, when the First Ward school it housed was closed due to low attendance.

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude, in 1976, were amoung the original board members of P.S.1. For the Wrapped Floor and Covered Windows, the artists covered the floor of the auditorium with house painters’ cotton fabric drop cloths. At the same time, Christo and Jeanne-Claude covered the inside part of the glass of all the windows with brown wrapping paper, creating a diffused honey-colored light throughout the interior.

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  • The Umbrellas

    The Umbrellas The Umbrellas

    At sunrise, on October 9, 1991, Christo and Jeanne-Claude's 1,880 workers began to open the 3,100 umbrellas in Ibaraki and California, in the presence of the artists at both sites. This Japan-USA temporary work of art reflected the similarities and differences in the ways of life and the use of the land in two inland valleys, one 12 miles (19 kilometers) long in Japan, and the other 18 miles (29 kilometers) long in the USA.

    In Japan, the valley is located north of Hitachiota and south of Satomi, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Tokyo, around Route 349 and the Sato River, in the Prefecture of Ibaraki, on the properties of 459 private landowners and governmental agencies. In the USA, the valley is located 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, along Interstate 5 and the Tejon Pass, between south of Gorman and Grapevine, on the properties of Tejon Ranch, 25 private landowners as well as governmental agencies.

    Eleven manufacturers in Japan, USA, Germany and Canada prepared the various elements of the umbrellas: fabric, aluminum super-structure, steel frame bases, anchors, wooden base supports, bags and molded base covers. All 3,100 umbrellas were assembled in Bakersfield, California, from where the 1,340 blue umbrellas were shipped to Japan.

    Starting in December 1990, with a total work force of 500, Muto Construction Co. Ltd. in Ibaraki, and A. L. Huber & Son in California installed the earth anchors and steel bases under the supervision of Site Managers Akira Kato in Japan and Vince Davenport in the USA. The sitting platform-base covers were placed during August and September 1991. From September 19 to October 7, 1991, an additional construction work force began transporting the umbrellas to their assigned bases, bolted them to the receiving sleeves, and elevated the umbrellas to an upright closed position. On October 4, students, agricultural workers, and friends, 960 in USA and 920 in Japan, joined the work force to complete the installation of The Umbrellas. Each umbrella was 19 feet 8 inches (6 meters) high and 28 feet 5 inches (8.66 meters) in diameter.

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude's 26 million dollar temporary work of art was entirely financed by the artists through their The Umbrellas, Joint Project for Japan and U.S.A. Corporation (Jeanne-Claude Christo-Javacheff, president). The artists do not accept sponsorship. All previous projects by Christo and Jeanne-Claude have been financed in a similar manner through the sale of the studies, preparatory drawings, collages, scale models, early works, and original lithographs.

    The removal started on October 27 and the land was restored to its original condition. The umbrellas were taken apart and most of the elements were recycled.

    The Umbrellas, free standing dynamic modules, reflected the availability of the land in each valley, creating an invitational inner space, as houses without walls, or temporary settlements and related to the ephemeral character of the work of art.

    In the precious and limited space of Japan, the umbrellas were positioned intimately, close together and sometimes following the geometry of the rice fields. In the luxuriant vegetation enriched by water year round, the umbrellas were blue. In the California vastness of uncultivated grazing land, the configuration of the umbrellas was whimsical and spreading in every direction. The brown hills are covered by blond grass. In that dry landscape, the umbrellas were yellow.

    From October 9, 1991 for a period of eighteen days, The Umbrellas were seen, approached, and enjoyed by the public, either by car from a distance and closer as they bordered the roads, or by walking under The Umbrellas in their luminous shadows.

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  • Wrapped Floors and Stairways and Covered Windows

    Museum Würth, Künzelsau, Germany
    Wrapped Floors and Stairways and Covered Windows

    From January 22 to 27, 1995, Christo and Jeanne-Claude and their team created Wrapped Floors and Stairways and Covered Windows at Museum Würth, Künzelsau. The temporary indoor installation was on view from January 29 to June 4, 1995.

    Collector and entrepreneur Reinhold Würth invited the artists to have an exhibition in his museum on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his company. The museum, planned and built by architects Maja Djordjevic-Müller and Siegfried Müller, Stuttgart, was finished in 1991. After Christo and Jeanne-Claude had seen the space they decided not to do an exhibition, but to create a temporary work of art for the interior of the museum.

    Wrapped Floors and Stairways and Covered Windows involved the entire museum as well as part of the administration building so that both visitors to the museum and employees could experience the work of art.

    A total of 31,215 square feet (2,900 square meters) of floor space were covered with 96,875 square feet (9,000 square meters) of drop cloths generally used by painters to protect furniture and floors from paint stains. The walls of the museum remained completely bare.

    The flood of continuously changing folds of fabric on the floor emphasized the consciousness of the action of walking on a surface visually rich in form and texture, and muffled the usual sounds, creating a serene and calm ambiance.

    A total of 879 windows were covered with 37,135 square feet (3,450 square meters) of brown wrapping paper that created a honey-colored light in the room itself while it obstructed the view outside.

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  • Wrapped Trees

    Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland
    Wrapped Trees

    Starting on Friday, November 13, 1998, 178 trees were wrapped with 592,015 square feet (55,000 square meters) of woven polyester fabric (used every winter in Japan to protect trees from frost and heavy snow) and 14.3 miles (23 kilometers) of rope. The wrapping was completed on November 22.

    The trees are located in the park around the Fondation Beyeler and in the adjacent meadow as well as along the creek of Berower Park, northeast of Basel, at the German border. The height of the trees varied between 82 feet (25 meters) and 6.5 feet (2 meters) with a diameter from 47.5 feet (14.5 meters) to 3.3 feet (1 meter).

    The project was organized by Josy Kraft, project director and by Wolfgang and Sylvia Volz, project managers, who also surveyed the trees and designed the sewing patterns for each tree. J. Schilgen GmbH & Co. KG, Emsdetten, Germany, wove the fabric. Günter Heckmann, Emsdetten, Germany, cut and sewed the fabric. Meister & Cie AG, Hasle-Rüegsau, Switzerland, manufactured the ropes. Field manager Frank Seltenheim of Seilpartner, Berlin, Germany, directed eight teams working simultaneously: ten climbers, three tree pruners and twenty workers.

    As they have always done, Christo and Jeanne-Claude paid the expenses of the project themselves through the sale of original works to museums, private collectors and galleries. The artists do not accept any sponsorship.

    The wrapping was removed on December 14, 1998 and the materials were recycled.

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude have worked with trees for many years: In 1966, Wrapped Trees was proposed for the park adjacent to the Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri, and the permission was denied. In 1969, the artists requested permission for Wrapped Trees, Project for 330 Trees, Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris. This was denied by Maurice Papon, Prefect of Paris. The Wrapped Trees in Riehen were the outcome of 32 years of effort.

    The branches of the Wrapped Trees pushed the translucent fabric outward and created dynamic volumes of light and shadow and moving in the wind with new forms and surfaces shaped by the ropes on the fabric.

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  • Wrapped Floors and Stairway and Covered Windows

    Plazzo Bricherasio, Turin, Italy
    Wrapped Floors and Stairway and Covered Windows

    On October 8, 1998, Christo and Jeanne-Claude and their team completed Wrapped Floors and Stairway and Covered Windows in the historic part of Palazzo Bricherasio in Turin. The temporary indoor installation coincided with the artists' personal exhibition in the modern part of the museum and was on view from October 10 to January 17, 1999.

    13,000 square feet (1,200 square meters) of cotton fabric drop cloth (commonly used by house painters) were laid on the floor, shrouding the steps, the banister and the handrail of the stairway, as well as the parquet of five 17th century ornate rooms.

    As the visitors walked on the fabric it changed into rhythmic ripples and folds with a high degree of textual surface and nuance and a subtle sensuality suggesting the lapping currents of water that result in swirling patterns.

    The transformation was minimal yet it more than sufficed to drastically alter the appearance and feeling of the space, generating an atmosphere of silence and tranquility.

    The glass part of the windows was covered with 700 square feet (65 square meters) of light brown wrapping paper, creating a honey-colored light in the rooms. The experience was different walking through the rooms in the morning, at midday or towards nightfall.

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  • The Wall - 13,000 Oil Barrels

    Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany
    The Wall - 13,000 Oil Barrels

    The indoor installation was completed on April 6, 1999 in the Gasometer Oberhausen and remained until mid-October 1999.

    The Gasometer, one of the largest gas tanks in the world, 384 feet (117 meters) high by 223 feet (68 meters) in diameter, was built in 1928/29 to store the blast furnace gas (a by-product of the industrial processing of iron ore). Christo and Jeanne-Claude were invited by IBA Emscher Park Organization (founded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1989 to improve the infrastructure of the Ruhrregion), to exhibit in the Gasometer in Oberhausen.

    The 13,000 oil barrels wall was 85 feet (26 meters) tall and 223 feet (68 meters) wide with a depth of 23.7 feet (7.23 meters), and spanned the distance from wall to wall of the Gasometer. The barrels (208 liter capacity each) were connected to a structural core made of steel scaffolding structure to which they were bolted. The entire wall of barrels was supported by steel pillars resting on the foundation of the Gasometer, and not connected to the steel structure of the Gasometer.

    The barrels had been specially painted in bright industrial yellow, deep orange, ultramarine blue, sky blue, rock gray, light ivory, and grass green. The barrels were stacked following a predetermined pattern. 45% of the barrels were yellow, 30% deep orange, and between 2% and 6.6% for the other colors. The total weight of the wall was 300 tons. After the exhibition, The Wall was removed and all materials went back to their usual industrial uses.

    The artists' friend and exclusive photographer, Wolfgang Volz, was the project director in charge of the planning and construction of The Wall.

    Within the dark enclosure of the gas container the multicolored mosaic of the 13,000 oil barrels wall stood out with luminosity.

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  • Big Air Package

    Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany
    Big Air Package

    Project Director: Wolfgang Volz

    Big Air Package, a project for the Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany, was conceived in 2010 and on view from March 16 to December 30, 2013.

    The sculpture was installed inside the Gasometer. It was made from 20,350 square meters (219,000 square feet) of semitransparent polyester fabric and 4,500 meters (14,800 feet) of polypropylene rope. The inflated envelope was 90 meters (295 feet) high, with a diameter of 50 meters (164 feet), a volume of 177,000 cubic meters (6,250,000 cubic feet) and a total weight of 5,300 kilograms (11,700 pounds).

    The Gasometer was built in 1928/29 to store the blast furnace gas that is generated as a by-product of the industrial processing of iron ore. It is one of the largest gas tanks in the world, 117 meters (384 feet) high by 68 meters (223 feet) in diameter.

    Big Air Package could be experienced from the outside and inside. It nearly spanned the distance from wall to wall of the Gasometer, leaving only a small passage to walk around the sculpture. Airlocks allowed visitors to enter the package, which was self-supporting and kept upright by two air fans creating a constant pressure of 27 pascal (0.27 millibar).

    Christo and Jeanne-Claude created their first sculpture involving air in 1966. The artists’ last air package was erected at documenta IV in Kassel in 1968. It stood 85 meters (280 feet) tall, with a diameter of 10 meters (32.8 feet) and a volume of 5,600 cubic meters (198,000 cubic feet).

    Big Air Package was the largest ever inflated envelope without a skeleton. Illuminated through the skylights of the Gasometer, the work of art was a cathedral of air, creating a diffused light throughout the interior, muffling the usual sounds and thus generating an atmosphere of silence and tranquility.

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  • The Floating Piers

    Lake Iseo, Italy
    The Floating Piers

    For sixteen days – June 18 through July 3, 2016 – Italy’s Lake Iseo was reimagined. 100,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric, carried by a modular floating dock system of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes, undulated with the movement of the waves as The Floating Piers rose just above the surface of the water.

    Visitors were able to experience the work of art by walking on it from Sulzano to Monte Isola and to the island of San Paolo, which was framed by The Floating Piers. The mountains surrounding the lake offered a bird’s-eye view of The Floating Piers, exposing unnoticed angles and altering perspectives. Lake Iseo is located 100 kilometers east of Milan and 200 kilometers west of Venice.

    “Like all our projects, The Floating Piers was absolutely free and open to the public,” said Christo. “There were no tickets, no openings, no reservations and no owners. The Floating Piers were an extension of the street and belonged to everyone.”

    A 3-kilometer-long walkway was created as The Floating Piers extended across the water of Lake Iseo. The piers were 16 meters wide and approximately 35 centimeters high with sloping sides. The fabric continued along 2.5 kilometers of pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio.

    “Those who experienced The Floating Piers felt like they were walking on water – or perhaps the back of a whale,” said Christo. “The light and water transformed the bright yellow fabric to shades of red and gold throughout the sixteen days.”

    In the spring and summer of 2014, Christo, Vladimir Yavachev – Operations Director, Wolfgang Volz –  Project Manager and Official Photographer, and Josy Kraft – Registrar/Curator, scouted the lakes of Northern Italy. Along with Project Director Germano Celant, they found Lake Iseo to be the most inspiring location. Since that time they worked alongside team members from around the world to realize The Floating Piers.

    The Floating Piers was first conceived by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1970. It was Christo’s first large-scale project since Christo and Jeanne-Claude realized The Gates in 2005, and since Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009. As with all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects, The Floating Piers was funded entirely through the sale of Christo’s original works of art. After the 16-day exhibition, all components were removed and industrially recycled.

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  • The London Mastaba

    Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park
    The London Mastaba

    Christo created a temporary sculpture in Hyde Park, London, titled The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18. It was floating on the Serpentine Lake from June 18 to September 23, 2018. This was Christo's first major public, outdoor work in the UK. The temporary sculpture coincided with an exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's work (June 19 to September 9, 2018), which included sculptures, drawings, collages and photographs spanning more than 60 years. The sculpture and the exhibition both drew on Christo and Jeanne-Claude's history of using barrels to create works of art.

    Since the late 1960s, Christo had sought a suitable site for a floating Mastaba. The temporary sculpture in Hyde Park consisted of 7,506 horizontally stacked barrels on a floating platform in the Serpentine Lake. It was 20 meters (65.5 ft) high x 30 meters (90 ft) wide (at the 60° slanted walls) x 40 meters (130 ft) long. The standard 55 gallon barrels, 59 x 88 cm (2 ft x 3 ft), were specifically fabricated and painted for this sculpture. The sides of the barrels, visible on the top and on the two slanted walls of the sculpture, were painted red and white. The ends of the barrels, visible on the two vertical walls, were different hues of red, blue, and mauve.

    The sculpture's floating platform was made of high-density polyethylene cubes anchored to the lakebed with weighted anchors. A primary steel scaffolding frame was constructed on top of the platform and the Barrels were attached to a scaffold sub structure. The total weight was 600 metric tons (660 US tons). The footprint of the sculpture took up approximately 1% of the total surface area of the lake.

    As with all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's projects, The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18 was funded entirely through the sale of Christo's original works of art. No public money is used for Christo's projects and he does not accept sponsorship.

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