art in the blink of an eye: Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Umbrellas”

I’ve never loved Christo.  Always seemed too ostentatious, maybe, or pretentious.  But then I saw his and Jeanne-Claude’s drawings for ” The Umbrellas: Joint Project for Japan and USA.”  It was love at first sight.  I can’t show you here how beautifully they’re displayed at the Chazen Museum of Art, but maybe you can get some idea:

in the same frame with:

You can see more photos of the drawings/collages and of the installation itself in Japan and the US at the website for the project. Briefly, though, at exactly the same moment, in a valley in Japan and a valley in the US, 1800 workers opened 3100 umbrellas, blue in Japan, and yellow in California.  The blue umbrellas, to reflect the wetter environment in Japan, were placed closer together in geometric patterns following the rice fields, and the yellow, to reflect the drier land in California, were placed more haphazardly on land used for grazing.   They left them up for eighteen days, then took them down and recycled most of the parts.  I would have loved to have seen that, but seeing the drawings is better than second best.  If you can’t see the drawings in person, go to the website. They’re gorgeous.  Trust me.


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