August 17, 2011 Leave a comment
Back in February of 2005, while attending community college for a Graphic Design Technology Degree, I was lucky enough to be selected by my Drawing I teacher to participate in a school-funded trip to New York, and witness something amazing. I had only been to New York once before when I was little, I had never been to Central Park, and I had also only experiences snow once before, when I was little. The trip consisted of a three days stay in New York City, visits to local museums, like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and a visit to Central Park, where artists Christo & Jeanne Claude had created something very special. Witnessing this amazing installation in Central Park by these artists was a once in a lifetime experience, and I am very lucky to have been able to participate in it. I enjoyed this installation very much.
Christo & Jeanne-Claude
Christo was born in 1935 in Bulgaria; he studied art there and also in Vienna before moving to Paris and beginning to develop himself as an artist creating wrapped packages. When he married Jeanne-Claude, they began to wrap larger objects collaborating with each other as artists. Christo first began by wrapping smaller objects in different fabrics and ropes. He would wrap items like books, magazines, chairs, motorcycles, tables, and barrels. Later, with the help of Jeanne-Claude, he was obtaining permits in different cities to wrap famous monuments, fountains, and even buildings in fabric and ropes. Some of the large-scale things that they have wrapped are the Kunsthalle, an art museum in Switzerland; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; 1 million square feet of the coast in Little Bay, Sydney, Australia; and the Pont Neuf Bridge in Paris.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude did other installations aside from wrapping existing objects in different types of fabrics and colors. They also created their own installations with fabrics from scratch. They used orange colored fabric to create a wall in Colorado. They created a long wall that stretched 24 miles in California, using a white fabric. They surrounded the island in Biscayne Beach, Miami, Florida with a bright pink fabric. They created umbrellas out of blue and yellow fabric to decorate fields in both Japan and California respectively. Finally, in New York’s Central Park they adorned all the walkways with bright orange gates that where constructed with metal frames and orange fabric. Currently Christo has two works in progress including one in the United Arab Emirates and one in Colorado. Unfortunately Jeanne-Claude will not be helping him with these projects anymore, because she passed away in 2009 do to a brain aneurysm rupture.
Color & Texture
Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artwork is a one of a kind transitory experience. They raise the money for their big large-scale projects by selling their initial sketches for the projects themselves. They must complete numerous preliminary work such as obtaining countless permits, economical resources and volunteers that would help with the installations. The main design elements of such elaborative pieces are colors and texture. Their use of different fabrics and colors is very unique. When they wrap all these monuments, or create these installations, they definitely change the environment by dramatically altering the texture of such monuments and the colors within nature.
When I was experiencing New York’s Central Park for the first time, with Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s installation in it, “The Gates”, the experience was quite interesting. The setting was a cold February in New York winter, and all the colors of the white snow and the blue skies, where split-compliments of the brown trees and the bright orange gates. Whiteout the gates, Central Park would have felt very cold, and blue, as far as colors goes. However, the warmth of the orange made the installation pop out on the canvas that was the park. The texture of the fabric used for the gates was very fascinating. The texture appeared simple just like regular cotton, however it was very different when you actually touched it. It was permeable and had a patterned texture to it, like tiny little dots that your fingers could read. This seemed to contrast with the rest of the textures in the park like the trees and the snow. Overall, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have exceptionally and innovatively used both color and texture to alter the norm, and to pose a different view and feel in rural and urban settings.
Please visit Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s website for pictures of their work.
After this trip I took a Photography class in which our teacher took us on a walkthrough to the Las Olas Riverfront to take pictures outdoors. I was trying to look for interesting shots. The day was beautiful for picture taking, there was not one cloud in the sky and it was the brightest blues I had ever seen. Looking up to the sky from the riverfront walk I saw some very bright yellow umbrellas from a restaurant on the second floor. The contrast between the warm yellow tones and the cool blue skies, reminded me of one of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work. I was inspired by it and I took this photo: