An Ode to Christo
A treasured and loyal Turnbull customer for many years, when the news broke on 31st May 2020 of Christo’s death, those of us in London, were at once reminded of the monumental Mastaba that occupied the Serpentine in 2018. The work of Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude, for they collaborated closely on all projects, have been present in major cities around the world for many years. From the wrapped Reichstag in Berlin to the Floating Piers project in Italy's Lake Iseo, these huge interventions, whether experienced in person or via photographs and film, challenged how we viewed the world around us and sit among the most recognisable images of artworks this century.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2016. Image credit: s74/Shutterstock.com
Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The Mastaba, Hyde Park, London, 2018. Image credit: AC Manley/Shutterstock.com
On hearing the news, our Creative Director, Becky French was reminded of her time in New York, please read her words below.
“I moved to New York in September 2003 and lived there for three years. Two of those years were spent in the towering offices of Ralph Lauren, on Madison Avenue – just around the corner from the Turnbull & Asser store on 57th street. Fresh from university and some weeks travelling in Asia, I landed in this amazing city - solo, excited, and equally daunted. I have such vivid memories of those years and have continued to feel an attachment to Manhattan and Brooklyn ever since. My work life, however, centred around 59th and Madison with Central Park on my doorstep.
In 2005 I vividly remember Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s installation ‘The Gates’ in Central Park. This statement from their website says it all…
‘The people of New York continued to use the park as usual. For those who walked through The Gates, the saffron coloured fabric was a golden ceiling creating warm shadows. When seen from the buildings surrounding Central Park, The Gates seemed like a golden river appearing and disappearing through the bare branches of the trees and highlighting the shape of the meandering footpaths.’
Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005. Image credit: Lee Snider/Shutterstock.com
I was a person of New York at that time and lucky enough to view the billowing fabric river from the office, on the 27th floor.”
Like all their projects, The Gates was entirely self-funded. From the 600 workers kitted out in their The Gates uniforms to install it to the teams of monitors, who all received financial compensation, breakfast, and a hot meal every day, images of the installation, like all their installations are beautifully surreal and awe-inspiring.
Thank you, Christo, and Jeanne-Claude, from everyone here at Turnbull & Asser.
If you want to relive Christo and Jeanne-Claude's London installation through augmented reality you can do so by downloading the Acute Art app, learn more about it here. And, of course, we all eagerly await the pair’s next project, L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped which will take place from September 18 to Sunday, October 3, 2021, in Paris.
Lead Image: Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005. Image credit: Danger Jacobs/Shutterstock.com