The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) has received 16 major works valued at $3 million by artist Christo, gifted to the museum by museum trustees Maria Bechily and Scott Hodes. The donation makes PAMM the fourth largest holding of Christo’s work in the United States.
“These fine works provide a vivid glimpse into Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s tremendously important oeuvre,” said René Morales, PAMM Director of Curatorial Affairs. “As a group, they provide an expansive overview of their artistic legacy, comprising a readymade, partial career retrospective of their major projects spanning from the late 1960s to the early 2000s.”
In 2018, PAMM showed an exhibition of archival materials and works related to the artist duo’s site-specific 1983 installation, Surrounded Islands, in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. The show featured around 50 drawings and collages, a large-scale model of the bay and its islands, hundreds of photographs and documents, photomurals and other artefacts that related to the project.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude have famously declined financial support throughout their careers from governments, institutions, single patrons, and foundations, instead choosing to fund their projects exclusively through the direct sales of works on paper such as the ones donated.
The collection includes a mixed-media collage that pertains to their 1968 project, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Packed, where they wrapped the entire MCA Chicago’s exterior and interior in black fabric. The gift also includes a work that relates to the 1981 project Wrapped Reichstag, where they wrapped the entire parliamentary building in Berlin.
The artist duo have inarguably left an indelible impact on the history of art since the mid-20th century. They carefully select their outdoor locations and then proceed to create large-scale, ephemeral projects that usually involve dramatic interventions that range from remote natural settings to densely populated urban capitals. Their projects often disrupt the normalcy of their locations, adding saturated colors, revealing or hiding beauty to highlight the social significance of their sites. With a career that spans six decades, their work has expanded the definition of art beyond the limited conceptions of self-contained artefacts, and instead, envision a radically different and more democratic art form that speaks directly to perhaps the most broad audience: everyone.
Christo, 84, survives Jeanne-Claude who passed away in 2009 in New York from complications of a brain aneurysm. The couple is pictured above with their 2005 Central Park installation, The Gates, wheere the festooned 37 kilometers of Central Park’s footpaths with thousands of saffron drapes hung from specially designed frames. The project drew more than 5 million people to the parks and it was said to have injected around $250 million into the local economy.