History Bytes: Christo & Jeanne-Claude Wrap Newport
In 2005, the artists Christo (b. 1935) and Jeanne-Claude (1935 – 2009) constructed 7,503 fabric panels on the snow covered grounds of Central Park in New York. Known as The Gates, it was an immediate sensation and a new example of textile sculpture in the artist’s portfolio of “wrappings.”
As part of the 1974 citywide exhibit of modern sculpture in Newport known as Monumenta, Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped King’s Beach on Ocean Drive. It consisted of 150,000 square feet of white polypropylene fabric attached to the shoreline. It was called “Oceanfront Project” and lasted only eight days. Later, in the 1980s, it was falsely rumored that Christo and Jeanne-Claude would wrap Rose Island. As for Monumenta, some of the sculptures are in private collections and one can still see the concentric mounds of grass known as the “Sod Maze” by Richard Fleischner at Chateau Sur Mer.