Pace Gallery has announced a new partnership with renowned artist Christo. Pace will present a series of five works on paper by Christo at Art Basel Miami Beach 2018, all related to Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s celebrated project Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980-83. In 2020, Pace will also organize a major exhibition dedicated to a selection of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects from around the world, to take place in the gallery’s new global headquarters at 540 West 25th Street, New York, NY. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work has been instrumental in shifting the paradigm from depicting the landscape to creating an alternate, visual response by transforming it, and Pace’s first exhibition of their work will illustrate the magnitude of their enduring artistry.
“Christo is a dreamer and an artist of mythic energy who has redefined the way we interact with the world around us,” said Marc Glimcher, Pace Gallery President and CEO. “From James Turrell to Maya Lin to Robert Irwin, Pace has long been engaged with artists who venture far beyond the traditional gallery, envisioning and creating artwork on a monumental scale, and it’s an honor to embark on a partnership with Christo. He and Jeanne-Claude’s vision and work live at the boundaries of things—the edges and intersections of places, ideas, and materials—and their practice embodies a boundless ambition for art to challenge nature, to somehow exist beyond the scale of nature. The attempt alone is inspiring, and I see as much genius and innovation in the unrealized projects as in the realized. The inherent truth to their work is that it can never last – but in its ideation and its realization, it provokes a response in anyone who encounters it, whether love or hate, and it’s there, in that charged middle space, where their artwork thrives.”
Pace’s presentation of Christo’s works on paper at Art Basel Miami Beach coincides with the 35th anniversary of Surrounded Islands, as well as the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s documentary exhibition dedicated to this seminal project. A lasting influence on the evolution of Miami as a major center for international contemporary art, Surrounded Islands was on view for two weeks and comprised Christo and Jeanne-Claude encircling 11 manmade uninhabited islands over 7 miles in Biscayne Bay with 6.5 million square feet of floating, pink, woven polypropylene fabric. Harmonizing with the surrounding water, sky, and foliage, the work created a vivid composition in blue, green, pink, and turquoise. Pace will exhibit a selection of preparatory collages and drawings that Christo made between 1981 and 1983 throughout the development of Surrounded Islands. Incorporating pencil, charcoal, pastel, wax crayon, enamel paint, aerial photographs and fabric samples, these works reveal the evolution of the project’s details, the artists’ extensive research and deep understanding of the site and surrounding environment, and the crystallization of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s initial idea into the final monumental project.
Born on the same day in 1935 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria and Casablanca, Morocco respectively, Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009, began their collaboration in 1961 with their first outdoor temporary work Stacked Oil Barrels and Dockside Packages, Cologne Harbor, 1961. In addition to Surrounded Islands, a selection of their many celebrated public projects include Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, Australia, 1968-69; Valley Curtain, Grand Hogback, Rifle, Colorado, 1970 – 72; Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972-76; Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95; The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005; and more recently The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2014-16 and The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18.
All of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects are free and open to public, and are paid for through the sale of Christo’s original works of art. This process has allowed the artists full creative control and to freely pursue their singular aesthetic vision. Though they comprise an expansive array of materials and have occurred in diverse places around the world, all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects share a common impermanence—re-envisioning their environment, allowing viewers to see spaces with a new consciousness that lasts long after the work of art is removed.