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Christo Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat

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Running Fence

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Running Fence

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The two postmodernist artists Christo Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat formed one of the closest and most creative collaborations in 20th Century contemporary art. Based in New York, the couple specialized in a unique form of avant-garde art known as ’empaquetage’ – meaning packaging or wrapping of objects. Beginning in 1958 with small items, they extended the idea to the wrapping of buildings, coastlines, even offshore islands. In the process, they created a sort of hybrid artform – a combination of conceptual art, outdoor installation, and large scale land art. Their works include the wrapping of the Berlin Reichstag building, the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, a stretch of Australian coastline and eleven islands in Biscayne Bay, Florida. One of the least known contemporary art movements, empaquetage is essentially a transitory artform done for reasons of aesthetics, rather than environmental concerns. The partnership was ended in November 2009 by Jeanne-Claude’s death following a brain aneurysm. By any yardstick, Christo and Jeanne-Claude must be considered two of the most original artists of of the 20th century. Their public art has touched the lives of people in four continents.  These huge undertakings, such as surrounding eleven islands in Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida, erecting a 24-mile-long/18-foot-high fence in two Northern California counties or hanging a giant curtain between two mountains in Rifle Gap, Colorado, become stories of hope and triumph in the face of adversity. The act of filming becomes the project itself, as the filmmakers are present every step of the way from planning, approval, execution and display of these temporary artworks.

These artists to me, are absolutely incredible – heart stopping – take some time to watch the documentary ” 5 Films About Christo & Jeanne-Claude” This fascinating anthology shows the passion, vision and complexity of the environmental art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, whose projects include a 24-mile, 18-foot-high fence in California and a giant curtain hung between two mountains in Colorado. The films — spanning 30 years — document not only the process but also the transformational effect the completed works have on those who come in contact with them.  Also ” The Gates “

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