Christo, who with his partner Jeanne-Claude used sculpture as a means to dramatically shift people’s understanding of iconic structures and sites, has died at 84. According to a statement released by the artist’s office, Christo died on May 31 of natural causes.
“Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible but realizing it,” the statement reads. “Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artwork brought people together in shared experiences across the globe, and their work lives on in our hearts and memories.”
The news comes as Christo was in the midst of one of his most ambitious projects to date, a project involving plans to wrap Paris’s Arc de Triomphe in 269,097 square feet of fabric. First conceived in 1962 by Christo and Jeanne-Claude and titled L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris, Place de l’Étoile – Charles de Gaulle), the project is still expected to be executed in September 2021, the artist’s office confirmed in its death notice. (The Arc de Triomphe wrapping was originally expected to take place this year, but it was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.)
With Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, Christo created some of the most iconic sculptures of the past half-century. Many involved temporarily sheathing well-known buildings and other entities in swaths of fabric, effectively deconstructing and reconstructing the way we think about how those structures function with respect to their surrounding landscapes. Among the things wrapped by the couple were the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris, islands in Biscayne Bay in Miami, and the Reichstag in Berlin.