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;
“We want to create works of art of joy and beauty, which we will build because we believe it will be beautiful,’ Jeanne-Claude said in a 2002 interview. “The only way to see it is to build it. Like every artist, every true artist, we create them for us.”