Christo and Jeanne-Claude
BEZALELChristo’s Gates Project
To Open In Central Park
by Tim Boxer
HRISTO and Jeanne-Claude are in final preparations for their grand tribute to Central Park. In February the couple will decorate 23 miles of walkways in the park with 7,500 frames that look like gates with saffron-colored nylon panels that will flutter for two weeks in the breeze.
It was inevitable that the world-famed conceptual artists would set their eyes on a New York installation, having made a reputation of wrapping buildings around the world, including the Reichstag in Berlin.
"We purchased 5,000 tons of steel and 145,000 nuts and bolts to make the gates," Christo said at a dinner of Friends of Bezalel, Israel’s National Academy of Arts and Design.
"We have an assembly plant in Maspeth, Queens. We move into Central Park in January." The gates will open February 12.
Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude were born at the same hour on June 13, 1935, he in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, as Christo Javacheff, and she in Casablanca, Morocco, as Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon of a Jewish mother in a French military family.
The two were guests of honor at a gala dinner at the Maritime Hotel in New York, where Theodore Kheel, the prominent labor lawyer, presented them with the Jerusalem Prize for Arts and Letters for their creative public artwork.
"In 1970," Kheel said, "they asked me to help get them permission to install gates in Central Park. Now 25 years later we finally succeeded. It will be one of the most magnificent works of art ever displayed – paid for by Christo and Jeanne-Claude."
Dr. Arnold L. Lehman, Brooklyn Museum director, presented the Patron of the Arts Award to philanthropist/art collector Hennelore Schulhof.