Since 1961, the late artist Christo had always wanted to wrap the Arc de Triomphe in fabric. Cristo and his wife Jeanne-Claude were known for their extraordinarily large public art installations. Starting with wrapping smaller items like furniture and barrels in fabric, they soon moved up to wrapping trees, buildings, bridges, and even the coast of an island. But through all of their achievements, the couple always dreamed about wrapping the Arc de Triomphe.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s works always drew their fair share of criticism. What is the message that the two are trying to say by concealing well-known landmarks? Not to mention the logistical hurdles their work created for those who just wanted to use the building/bridge/river/etc. Whatever your thoughts of their work may be, there is something undeniably breathtaking and mindblowing about seeing monumentally large structures wrapped in fabric.
All of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s public installations take years, even decades to realize. Not only is it a logistical nightmare, but there are also political negotiations and environmental permissions to clear. Originally planned for the autumn of 2020, the realization of this project was pushed back to September 2021. Unfortunately, Cristo never saw the realization of one of his biggest pursuits. Christo passed away in May 2020 in his home in New York. Jeanne-Claude will never see it either. She passed away in 2009 due to complications from a brain aneurysm.
From a sketch Cristo drew when he was living in Paris in 1961, to an installation realized in 2021, the legacy of the groundbreaking artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude lives on for just a little bit longer. Titled L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, the installation will be up until October 3, 2021. You can also view a live stream of the installation here.