Pops of Yellow Scattered like California Poppies – The Umbrellas

Happy Birthday to Christo born June 13th, 1935 and still active today.

One of his current projects ‘The Floating Piers’ is a 16-day outdoor installation in Italy and it will give visitors the chance to ‘walk on water’. The project still awaits a final touch: The application of deep yellow fabric that the artist promises will dramatically shift from nearly red to brilliant gold under the effects of light and humidity. The installation runs June 18th 2016 – July 3rd 2016.

Christos latest installation - 'The Floating Piers' (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Christos latest installation – ‘The Floating Piers’ (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

I’m Not a Stranger to Christo’s Work
My first encounter with the art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude was when I lived in Southern California driving up the Grapevine and then out of nowhere was a forest of yellow umbrellas; random, in groups, standing in long curved lines in the dry landscape. Pops of yellow scattered like California poppies was beautiful in a peculiar way and left a lasting impression on me.

Contrasting the dry landscape with the lush, on the other side of the world in Ibaraki, Japan, 1,340 blue umbrellas also were opened against that region’s landscape, making the project international in scope.

blue_umbrellas-cristo

The years-long project would come to be known as “The Umbrellas, Japan-USA 1984-1991.

The experience of the unexpected of Christo and Jeanne-Claude work leaves a lasting impression. And since then I’ve been a fan of his work.

New York City, 1976 Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Christo's studio Photo: Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images © 1976 Christo
New York City, 1976
Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Christo’s studio
Photo: Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images
© 1976 Christo

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same date June 13th, Christo in Gabrovo, Bulgaria (June 13, 1935), and Jeanne-Claude in Morocco (June 13, 1935 – November 18, 2009). They first met in Paris in October 1958. Their works were credited to just “Christo” until 1994, when the outdoor works and large indoor installations were retroactively credited to “Christo and Jeanne-Claude”.  Jeanne-Claude who passed away on November 18, 2009 said she became an artist out of love for Christo (if he’d been a dentist, she said she’d have become a dentist).

Their work, which has been controversial because of the large scale, has been examined for a deeper physiological meanings. “What does the artist feel”, “Do they have issues”, “Why are they wrapping so many things” and “their destroying the environment”… however, the purpose of their art they contend, is simply to create beauty and joy and new ways of seeing familiar landscapes. For the environmental issues they spend a lot of time in research and then materials to ensure their art pieces do not disrupt the environment.

To the critics Christo said “I am an artist, and I have to have courage … Do you know that I don’t have any artworks that exist? They all go away when they’re finished. Only the preparatory drawings, and collages are left, giving my works an almost legendary character. I think it takes much greater courage to create things to be gone than to create things that will remain.”

The projects “are absolutely irrational with no justification to exist. Nobody needs a running fence or surrounded islands. They are created because Jeanne-Claude and I have this unstoppable urge to create.”

The large-scale projects are 100% financed by the artists as well. They make money through the sale of preliminary drawings, studies, and models.

Though Christo has lost his partner he carries on the vision and the urge to create and it doesn’t appear he’ll stop anytime soon. He has a variety of projects in the works; Over the River and the Mastaba. The details of these can be seen on his website here.

So to Christo, Happy Birthday! May you spend the next year enjoying the art of creating!

Christo and Jeanne-Claude The Umbrellas, Japan-USA, 1984-91 Photo: Wolfgang Volz
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Umbrellas, Japan-USA, 1984-91
Photo: Wolfgang Volz

 

Christo and Jeanne-Claude The Umbrellas, Japan-USA, 1984-91 Photo: Wolfgang Volz
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Umbrellas, Japan-USA, 1984-91
Photo: Wolfgang Volz

 

Christo and Jeanne-Claude The Umbrellas, Japan-USA, 1984-91 Photo: Wolfgang Volz
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Umbrellas, Japan-USA, 1984-91
Photo: Wolfgang Volz

 

Christo and Jeanne-Claude The Umbrellas, Japan-USA, 1984-91 Photo: Wolfgang Volz
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Umbrellas, Japan-USA, 1984-91
Photo: Wolfgang Volz

Photos in this Blog are in conjunction with the copyright: http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/press

Photos:
Wolfgang Volz

Facts from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christo_and_Jeanne-Claude

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