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Christo & Jeanne-Claude, 2001

The Gates (Project for Central Park, New York City)

Lithograph
82 × 62 cm

Projects such as Over the River, the wrapped Reichstag in Berlin (1971-95), the Wrapped Walk Ways (1977-78) in Kansas City, the wrapped Pont Neuf (1975-85) in Paris, the Wrapped Coast (1969) near Syndey or the Wrapped Trees (1997-98) at Riehen-Basel in Switzerland brought Christo & Jeanne-Claude the appellation “wrapping artists,” a term that cannot entirely dispense with the dim nimbus associated with a second-rate magician. But what does “wrapping” actually mean here—or more to the point, what impact does it have? How do we encounter an agitated, flowing river across which a huge cloth canopy has been stretched? How do we walk through a park such as Loose Park in Kansas City when its paths are covered with shiny yellow swathes of cloth?

One thing can be said with certainty: We respond to the wrapped object with amazement and suddenly enhanced attentiveness—our point of view becomes disturbed. We glide along the covering mantle with movements of our groping vision, again and again. We adopt a searching, curious, possibly adventurous perspective that waits eagerly to dis-cover, to remove the wrap or at least to raise it a bit at one point.

(Denise Essig, revised version)