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This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the April 24, 2002

edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Christo & Jeanne-Claude in Person

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the veteran art-making couple

whose marriage and art partnership is now in its fourth decade,


a new artist’s lecture series at the Lawrenceville School with a talk

on Wednesday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

With a public life spanning more than 35 years, these


once-suspect artists now loom as large on the landscape of art today

as their myriad massive projects. The pair’s first American


survey exhibition is currently installed at the National Gallery of

Art’s East Building, on view through June 23. The show features early

sculptures and documentary photographs of major installations


since the early 1970s by Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, who have gifted

the works to the nation.

Over the years, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s public talks have become

an integral part of their monumental sculptural projects. From the

massive "Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin," to the shimmering


Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California" — both decades

in planning — the landscape-changing artworks usually remain in

place for just 14 days. They are then efficiently dismantled, their

vast quantities of materials are recycled, and the land restored to

its original condition. The art reflects the couple’s creative vision,

patience, tireless powers of persuasion, and organizational genius.

"We make temporary works of art of joy and beauty," says


Yet while California, Florida, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland,

and Australia have all hosted major works, no such project has yet

been accomplished in the couple’s adopted home town, Manhattan.

Beginning in 1979, the artists began organizing for

"The Gates Project," a 26-mile installation of translucent

saffron-colored fabric suspended from 15-foot-high steel gates placed

along the footpaths of Central Park. In 1981 the project was refused

by the then-powers-that-be, but the artists have not been deterred.

"`Wrapped Reichstag’ in Berlin took us 24 years," says


"The project was turned down three times. It’s not new for us

that this project was turned down." Pressing on with their dream,

"The Gates" project was revived in 1996, and happened to gain

the support of Michael Bloomberg, now the city’s elected mayor and

one who is concerned with the long healing process from the terror

of September 11. "The Gates" today looks like more than a

golden glimmer in the eyes of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

— Nicole Plett

Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Lawrenceville School,

Heely Room, Memorial Hall, Lawrenceville, 609-620-6026. Christo

and Jeanne-Claude inaugurate the school’s new annual visiting artist

lecture series with a talk on works in progress: "The Gates:


for Central Park," and "Over the River: Project for the


River, Colorado." Free. Wednesday, May 1, 7 p.m.

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