Life=Works=Projects: Community as Art

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT reflects the achievements of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s epic public art projects.

poster for Christo and Jeanne-Claude Life=Works=Projects

Christo and Jeanne-Claude Life=Works=Projects

at 21_21 Design Sight
in the Roppongi, Nogizaka area
This event has ended - (2010-02-13 - 2010-04-06)

In Reviews by Elyse Eunhee Lee 2010-03-24

Walking into the futuristically cemented walls of the triangular pyramid at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT you find the footsteps of the beautiful life-long partnership of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, represented through their long-term projects such as ‘The Gates’ (New York), ‘The Running Fence’, and more. This artist couple is famous for their beautiful and unique architectural transformation works, such as wrapping whole buildings in fabrics. Moreover, their passion is outstanding in bringing people together and creating community-based projects.

Most of their art works, especially after 1970s, involved endless negotiations and mediations with farmers, government officials, the press, land owners, environmentalists, and the general public. The artistic merit and meaning of their work lies in the community and consensus they built in the course of the preparation of the art works. Often hundreds or even thousands of individuals were engaged in the projects directly or indirectly. Whoever they are, they become part of the art.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 'The Umbrellas, Japan-U.S.A.' (1984-91) (U.S.A. side)

One of their signature artwork reflecting this core value of the community is ‘The Running Fence’ (1978), a veiled 39.4km long fence extending across the hills of Sonoma and Marin counties in northern California, U.S.A.

The exhibition presents drawings of the projects and a total of six documentary films on the artists’ activities, made by the Maysles brothers: Christo’s ‘Valley Curtain’ (1974/28 min.) and ‘Running Fence’ (1978/58 min.) (on Mondays and Fridays), ‘Islands’ (1986/57 min.) and ‘Christo in Paris’ (1990/55 min.) (on Wednesdays and Saturdays), and ‘Umbrellas’ (1995/81 min.) and ‘The Gates’ (2007/98 min.) (on Thursdays and Sundays). The most enjoyable was ‘Christo’s Valley Curtain’, which highlights the public hearing of the curtain installation where all members of the community came together to show their support and praise for the work.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 'Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin' (1971-95)Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 'Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Australia' (1968-69)

As sadly Jeanne-Claude passed away in November 2009, this exhibition was organized to support Christo in continuing and completing the on-going projects in Arab Emirates and Colorado. Living in this distant, yet very tight community of our very own, so-called internet world, this exhibition is a timely reminder of the value of community, and recognizes it as an art form itself.

Exhibition view, 'Life=Works=Projects' at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT

Elyse Eunhee Lee

Elyse Eunhee Lee. Born in Seoul and grew up in Vancouver, Canada. After receiving Honors B.A. in Economics and International Studies from the University of Toronto, Elyse Eunhee moved back to Vancouver for career and then to Seoul, Korea for a change. There, she docented at LEEUM (Samsung Art Gallery) for special exhibitions on Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Flash Cube (Photography), and Korean Traditional Chosun Paintings. Now she is a Tokyoite fallen in love with the city, who can be often found in Mori Art Gallery or Roppongi Hills in a Saturday morning. In 10 years, she plans to own galleries in N.Y., Paris, and Seoul/Tokyo. » See other writings

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