April 25, 2013
Christo and Jeanne-Claude Through the Gates and Beyond by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
Christo and Jeanne-Claude:
Through the Gates and Beyond
by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
A Neal Porter Book: Roaring Brook Press
When you think of art, you probably tend to think of paintings and sculpture or pottery or glass. And Christo has done collage and other works that are small enough and permanent enough to display in museums and galleries. Most of what he and Jeanne-Claude have done is far to big to be confined indoors or in time.
The Gates were set up in New York’s Central Park, spaced down the paths that are used every day by joggers, people walking their dogs and pushing their children in strollers. For two short weeks, they were also part of an amazing display of art — saffron gates hung with equally vibrant fabric panels.
Nothing that Christo and Jeanne-Claude does is easy. It takes years to get the permissions needed, to prove that they aren’t going to damage anything, and then to have the various components made, yet this is something that they do time and time again all over the world.
I’m not going to get into why. For that, I want you to read Greenberg and Jordan’s book. Why? Christo and Jeanne-Claude insist that the people who walk through and past their creations aren’t simply observing the art, they are part of it. When I read about their lives as children, I will get one thing out of the fact. You will get another. Neither is any more or less correct but both are equally necessary to the experience.
Greenberg and Jordan are known for their biographies that bring art and artists to life for young readers. They’ve done it again with Christo and Jeanne-Claude. They are especially skilled at doing this in terms of modern art because they understand that it is something their readers can truly grasp. This art isn’t just for people in salons and tony galleries. This is art for the people wherever the people happen to be, both in geography and in age.
Thanks to Greenberg and Jordan for making this work accessible to a new group of art lovers.