Experience Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Projects at the Asheville Art Museum

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Experience Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Projects at the Asheville Art Museum
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The Umbrellas, Japan - USA, 1984-91. Photo: Wolfgang Volz. ©1991 Christo.

ASHEVILLE, NC.- The Asheville Art Museum invites you to experience the innovative works of internationally acclaimed artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the exhibition titled Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Projects opening Friday, January 16, 2009 with an opening reception from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. that evening. This event is free with Museum Membership or admission.

Held in conjunction with the Asheville Art Museum’s smArt speak: Distinguished Artist Series, Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Projects offers audiences the chance to see the artistic process behind many of the monumental public art projects undertaken by Christo and Jeanne-Claude during the past five decades.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude have transcended the traditional boundaries of painting, drawing, sculpture and architecture. This exhibition examines the wide variety of media used by the artists and explores the breadth of their work as they move from contained forms to more fluid, open structures that evoke tensile architecture. The exhibition will include early packages and wrapped objects like Package, 1961, a tightly wrapped and bound mass. It continues with drawings and collages for most of the artists’ monumental projects, including The Umbrellas, Japan—U.S.A., 1984-91, The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975-85, Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980-83, and Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972-76.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s installation projects require years of planning. The considerable activity which precedes the installation of a piece is as much a part of the work as the actual installations. Zoning board hearings, public forums, parliamentary debates, legal negotiations, preparatory drawings and collages are part of the process. This is why each particular progression of activities is referred to as a “project” and the dates for each start with the inception of the idea and end with the completion of the piece.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were both born on June 13, 1935, he as Christo Javacheff in Bulgaria and she as Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon in Morocco of a French military family. Christo studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria from 1953 to 1956. In 1957, he escaped Prague, eventually making his way to Paris. There Christo met Jeanne-Claude in 1958 when he was commissioned to paint a portrait of her mother. Jeanne-Claude was educated in France and Switzerland, and earned degrees in philosophy and Latin from the University of Tunis. Since that time, they have collaborated on an impressive array of artistic work.

This exhibition was organized and curated by the Asheville Art Museum with special thanks to Christo and Jeanne-Claude. This exhibition is sponsored in part by Bank of America.

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