Christo Javacheff

(b. 1935)

About The Artist

Environmental sculptors Christo Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, are known around the globe for their cutting-edge materials and aesthetics. Both born on June 13, 1935, the couple met in Paris after Christo (then practicing commercial painting under the name Javacheff) painted a street portrait of Jeanne-Claude's mother. The couple married in 1959 and embarked on a rich creative partnership. Born out of Christo's training in the Soviet Socialist Realism tradition and involvement with the Parisian Nouveau Realisme movement, the couple integrated everyday materials and objects into multi-media works, in renunciation of artistic elitism. Despite having her creative contributions to their practice initially minimized, Jeanne-Claude eventually received equal recognition in all aspects of their collaborative enterprise, titled simply ‘Christo.' Upon moving to New York in 1964, Christo began crafting large-scale gallery installations, called Store Fronts and Show Windows. These works funded their more rigorous environmental projects, which included wrapping buildings and industrial objects with custom-engineered fabric and treating global landscapes. While the prevailing "Land art" movement of their era responded to the commercialization of art by prioritizing seamless manipulations of natural environments, Christo emphasized stark contrasts between man-made materials and organic settings. While the duo insisted that the aesthetic value of their works superseded any explicit connotations, their contributions to the environmental art discourse dramatized the function of ‘site-specific' work and meditated on industrialization and human intervention.

Garnering world-wide admiration, Christo's pursuits have been captured by many filmmakers and photographers. The 1974 documentary, Christo's Valley Curtain, chronicling the installation of Valley Curtain between two Colorado mountain slopes in 1972, was nominated for an Academy Award in the Short Subject Documentary category. In 2004, Christo won the International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2006, the pair received the inaugural Vilcek Prize in Fine Arts for foreigners working abroad. In 2011, Christo was elected into the National Academy of Design.

"Christo and Jeanne-Claude." Britannica Academic, Encyclopedia Britannica, 26 Jun. 2018. academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/Christo-and-Jeanne-Claude/82437.

Newman, Cathy. "Christo and Jeanne-Claude Unwrapped." National Geographic, vol. 210, no. 5, Nov. 2006, pp. 32–41.

"Projects: Valley Curtain." Christo and Jeanne-Claude, christojeanneclaude.net/projects/valley-curtain.

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