In Memoriam: Jeanne-Claude

November 20 2009, 9:15 AM

Jeanne ClaudeJeanne-Claude, one half of the art team that wrapped the Pont Neuf in Paris and the Reichstag in Berlin and installed 7,503 vinyl gates with saffron-colored nylon panels in Central Park, died yesterday in Manhattan, where she lived with her husband, Christo. Jeanne-Claude was 74. She met Christo Javacheff, a Bulgarian refugee, in Paris in 1958. Christo was already wrapping small objects at that time. Three years later, the two collaborated on a temporary installation in Cologne, Germany---oil drums and rolls of industrial paper wrapped in tarpaulin. To establish an artistic brand, they used only Christo's name, but in 1994 they retroactively applied the joint name "Christo and Jeanne-Claude" to their outdoor and large-scale temporary indoor works, according to The New York Times. In an online statement, Christo says he is saddened by his wife's death but remains "committed to honor the promise they made to each other many years ago: that the art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude would continue." That means completing their controversial "Over The River" installation project on the Arkansas River in Colorado. But even with Christo's determination to finish the $50 million project, it has many hurdles to clear. The Bureau of Land Management is reviewing the artists' proposal and is assessing the environmental impacts, the Colorado Springs Gazette points out, after Cañon City-based Rags Over the Arkansas River stated its opposition to the project. Christo and Jeanne-Claude first visited the Arkansas River Valley 14 years ago, notes The Pueblo Chieftain, which interviews the couple's local independent consultant.