Christo, the Bulgaria-born artist best known for large-scale installations and wrapping in fabric famous landmarks such as the Pont Neuf, has died. He was 84.
Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, known as Christo, died of natural causes on May 31 at his home in New York, according to a statement made on the artist’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The artist was the subject of Andrey Paounov’s 2018 documentary “Walking on Water,” which documented Christo’s journey to realize “The Floating Piers” installation in Italy in 2016. As Variety critic Jay Weissberg noted at the time, “(Christo’s) populist approach means you don’t need to read a dense explanatory panel full of jargon to understand what you’re seeing: You just need to experience it in person.”
Christo always worked with his wife Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon until her death in 2009. Besides the Pont Neuf in 1985, the duo covered highly symbolic and iconic sites such as the Reichstag in Berlin in 1995.
“Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible but realizing it. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artwork brought people together in shared experiences across the globe, and their work lives on in our hearts and memories,” read the statement on Christo’s Facebook account. Their work “transcended the traditional bounds of painting, sculpture and architecture,” added the statement.
Other works included “Wrapped Coast, Little Bay” in Sydney, Australia (1968–69), “Valley Curtain” in Colorado (1970–72), “Running Fence” in California (1972–76), “Surrounded Islands” in Miami (1980–83), “The Umbrellas” in Japan and California (1984–91) and “The Gates” in New York’s Central Park (1979–2005).
Following the passing of Denat de Guillebon, Christo went on to work alone. In 2016, the artist created “The Floating Piers,” an installation consisting of bright yellow fabric floating on Lake Iseo in Italy; and in 2018, Christo made his U.K. debut with the floating “London Mastaba” at the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. One of his latest projects was to wrap the L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris in 2021. The exhibition, titled “L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped,” is expected to go ahead, running from Sept. 18 – Oct. 3.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work will also be celebrated in Paris with a major exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou starting in July.
Christo was born on June 13, 1935, in Gabrovo, Bulgaria. After leaving the country in 1957 for Prague, he later fled to Austria, and then moved to Geneva, Switzerland.
Manori Ravindran contributed to this report.