Jeanne-Claude, wife and collaborator of Christo, died today suddenly of a brain aneurism at age 74.
I met her once, at a talk she and Christo gave at University of Chicago in 1997. I didn’t know that much about them at the time other than a passing familiarity with some of their more well known pieces. I expected a snooty, aloof, artier-than-thou character. Nothing could have been further from the truth. They were two of the most humble, down-to-earth people you could imagine. They financed all their big projects through sale of prepatory drawings and sculptures. They never took donations or corporate funding. Most of their pieces took years and decades to come to fruition, and each only lasted for two weeks.
Leslie and I saw their Gates piece in Central Park and it was a wonderful experience. (Pictures I took at it are in the slideshow above.) We were lucky to score a room overlooking central park on the 23rd floor, so had a birds eye view before and after it was opened, as well as strolling around. Unforgettable.