Sad news today, as Jeanne-Claude, orange-haired collaborator with Christo on The Gates and numerous other staggering, beautiful artworks, has died.
I only know their work through The Gates, an installation of seven thousand saffron-curtained doorways in Central Park a few winters ago. This was when I lived on the Upper East Side and worked Saturdays at the Met, and I remember watching the installation's progress through my across-the-park busrides, first markers then weights then the frames and then, in one overnight push, the orange curtains that transformed the park into a magical place. I took a detour through the park one Saturday walking home from work, and I'm not going to even try to describe what it was like. It was wonderful.
I've seen pictures of others of Jeanne Claude and Christo's projects, and I love them all. Big, environmental projects that change city landmarks into something transcendent. Huge swaths of fabric wrapped around stone bridges, islands nestled in flamingo pink. There was always something exuberant about it, a transformational joy, the bigness of the project, the simplicity of the idea and the power of its execution. I wish I had gotten to see more of their work, but I feel very lucky to have walked through what I did.