Thursday, November 19, 2009

R.I.P. Jeanne-Claude

The news of Jeanne-Claude's death made my eyes well up with tears today, a sensation that I don't think I've ever expressed so immediately over a public figure and artist who I never actually knew. Though she was older and enjoyed a long, full career, the thought that one half of a tremendously inspiring art team has passed is just heartbreaking to me. There are certain figures in life whose mere existence and pursuit make you happy that they're alive. The work of Jeanne-Claude and Christo definitely fit that category.

Valley curtain, xto j-c, 1974

This past summer I was impressed and charmed to discover that Doug Biggert was present for the install of both Valley Curtain and Running Fence. Impressed because it seems like every time you turn around there's someone else that Biggert's worked or been friends with. Charmed because I've only come to discover these associations through finding photographs of these people in Doug's collection. Lisa and I dug up images of Jeanne-Claude and Christo the same week as Chris Burden and Phyllis Lutjeans. Of Running Fence and Valley Curtain he assisted on one and documented the other. After the project was over Biggert held onto his pay check from Jeanne-Claude and Christo for as long as possible because it not only bore their signatures but it also featured an image of the project which he helped complete. Sadly, the need for do re mi eventually won out.

I'm sure I'm probably rambling about all this. It's been a long week...

In closing this quote from the NY Times obit was really lovely;


SwellMindy said...

Yes.I love their work. Seeing the Maysles Brothers documentary "Running Fence" in 1978 made a HUGE impact on me--made me understand art and the power of creating art in a way I had never felt or theorized about before.
OF COURSE, Doug worked with them. Wow. God bless Jean Claude. And huge condolences to Christo. Here is that film:

Ann Tracy said...

I have always loved their work too Liv.... I hadn't know that she had passed on... Poor Christo to lose not only a life partner, but an art partner too... RIP Jeanne-Claude

Kim Curry-Evans said...

I didn't know! Thank you for sharing this - what a loss to the art world and to one of those dynamic duo couples in the world.... :-(

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