Christo, Artist Known for Massive Short-Term Installations, Dies at 84

Bulgarian artist had major public art projects in Southern California, New York City and Berlin

Last Updated: June 1, 2020 @ 7:52 AM

Christo, the single-named artist best known for large-scale, short-term installations that often involved wrapping public spaces in fabric, died Sunday in New York at age 84, according to his official Twitter account.

No cause of death was given.

The Bulgarian artist, whose given name was Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, often collaborated with his late wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009 at age 74, to produce massive works that required considerable money and logistical prowess to achieve.

In 1991, they mounted a $26 million project that involved erecting 1,340 blue umbrellas on the coast of Japan and another 1,760 blue umbrellas along the Southern California coast. The artwork, which required 1,880 workers to install, was marred by tragedy when a spectator died in California when one of the 19-foot-tall umbrellas came loose in a wind storm.

Four years later, they wrapped the entire Reichstag in Berlin in a metallic fabric. And in 2005, they installed 7,500 saffron-colored vinyl gates in New York City’s Central Park in an artwork that drew 5 million viewers.

Other projects included the wrapping of other major sites in fabric, including Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Paris’ Pont Neuf and Kunsthalle in Bern, Switzerland.

According to Christo’s Twitter account, the artist was planning to wrap Paris’ L’Arc de Triomphe in fabric for two weeks in the fall of 2021 — a project that is still in the works.

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