Christo and Jeanne-Claude, born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon respectively, are a married couple who collaborate in creating environmental installation art. Their works, all credited under the name Christo and Jeanne-Claude, are massive and visually magnificent projects.
Although their art is largely controversial due to their size and scale, Christo and Jeanne-Claude insist that their art does not contain a hidden message or agenda. Their aim for their art, they said, is to present a different way of looking at landscapes that have become familiar to the general populace, as well as to make the world look more beautiful. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work was described by art critic David Bourdon as “revelation through concealment.”
The first project undertaken by the couple was Dockside Packages, done at Cologne Harbor in 1961. It was a temporary artwork that involved stacking barrels and covering them with cloth. The exhibition of Dockside Packages lasted for two weeks and happened simultaneously with an exhibition at Haro Lauhus Gallery, also in Cologne.
After Dockside Packages, Christo and Jeanne-Claude became involved in various outdoor wrapping projects. Among these notable projects are:
The Air Package they created for Documenta 4 in Kassel, Germany in 1968, which is an inflated structure erected without a skeleton. It was the largest structure ever created thus.
The Running Fence, a 40-kilometer veiled fence constructed from steel posts and steel cables. The veiled fence ran across the landscape of the Sonoma and Marin Counties in California and led to the sea.
The veiling of the Reichstag, the seat of the German Parliament, in 1995. The project was viewed by more than five million people before the building was unveiled.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude met in 1958, when Christo was commissioned to do a portrait of Jeanne-Claude’s mother, who was the wife of the influential General Jacques de Guillebon. The two share a birthday, June 13, 1935. It was described that in the partnership of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Jeanne-Claude handles the publicity and the logistics of their projects while Christo makes the final decisions in the creative department.