Christo, Artist Who Wrapped and Festooned on an Epic Scale, Dies at 84

Again and again, Christo prevailed, through persistence, charm and a childlike belief that eventually everyone would see things the way he did.

“For me esthetics is everything involved in the process—the workers, the politics, the negotiations, the construction difficulty, the dealings with hundreds of people,” he told The New York Times in 1972. “The whole process becomes an esthetic—that’s what I’m interested in, discovering the process. I put myself in dialogue with other people.”

When New York’s parks commissioner at the time, Gordon J. Davis, rejected “The Gates” in 1981, setting forth his reasons in a book-length document, Christo simply incorporated the rebuff into the project. “I find it very inspiring in a way that is like abstract poetry,” he told the College Art Association. “He adds a dimension to the work, no matter what he thinks.”

The next year [1962] Christo staged a brilliant coup de theatre, a work he called “Iron Curtain: Wall of Oil Barrels.” As part of a solo show at the Galerie J in Paris, he blocked off the narrow Rue Visconti for several hours with 204 stacked oil barrels, while his wife kept the police away through a series of diversionary tactics.

Several projects on a grand scale followed in the 1970s. For “Valley Curtain” he strung orange nylon fabric along steel cables over a narrow pass in Rifle, Colo.; a large semicircular opening allowed cars on the state highway below to pass through.

Fierce winds ripped the curtain to shreds two days later, a setback that Christo shrugged off. “I as an artist have done what I set out to do,” he said. “That the curtain no longer exists only makes it more interesting.”

I must watch this now.

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