The ‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon’ was the last artwork by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. It is a monumental sculpture that covers the exterior of the iconic Parisian monument, l’Arc de Triomphe.
Christo is an artist who has created many different works of art. His last artwork, l’Arc de Triomphe shrouded in silk, was completed on August 30th, 2018.
A new public artwork that premiered this week raises the question: what is the purpose of creating art that doesn’t endure and costs a fortune to produce?
The late Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude, known for fabric-wrapping monuments and landscapes, conceptualized the piece. The shrouding of the Arc de Triomphe, which was finished posthumously on Sept. 20, is this time.
It took 1,200 people to cover the building with 270,000 square feet of polypropylene fabric, and they’ll take it all down on Oct. 3.
What is the purpose of it?
According to Christo’s nephew Vladimir Yavachev, the price tag will be anywhere between $13.5 million and $16 million.
With such a large outlay, the what-does-it-all-mean issue becomes urgent.
There is no one solution to this question, as there is to most excellent questions.
Two of them suggest a response if you concentrate on the impermanence of the covering. One of them is obscuring the Triumphal Arch. Napoleon built it as a memorial to all of his military triumphs. And since his victories were ephemeral, and he didn’t become the ruler of the globe he desired, draping his monument with flapping cloth becomes a morality lesson in the transience of military victory.
The fabric-wrapped Reichstag, the Third Reich’s legislative building in Berlin, received the same connotation in 1995. Covering it up, as if it were a dead fish, was a strong statement about the Nazis’ failed cause.
Different reasons for becoming
My take on these wrapped landmarks isn’t the same as everyone else’s. Christo’s nephew told the New York Times that his uncle “wanted a living item that, with its flowing folds, would transform the monument’s surface into something sensuous” when it came to the Arch of Triumph.
But what explains Christo and Jeanne-landscape Claude’s wrapping?
Why did they feel the need to cover the Floating Piers of Italy in 75,000 square feet of yellow cloth, for example? Did they believe the view of the lake wasn’t beautiful enough without the addition of shimmering cloth in the sun’s color?
You might ask the same thing about their “Surrounded Islands” wrap from 1983. A total of 6,499,800 square feet of pink-colored polypropylene was used to encircle eleven islands in Miami’s Biscayne Bay.
Why? What was the purpose of flinging tens of thousands of pink textiles into the air? In a minute, I’ll return to this question.
I can’t tell this tale without mentioning the couple’s 1976 project in California, Running Fence, a 24.5-mile, 18-foot-high white nylon wall that extended over the hills of Sonoma and Marin counties.
As you would expect, not everyone was interested in what Christo and Jeanne-Claude had to offer. Surrounded Islands was approved after a lengthy and costly legal battle with local conservation organizations, according to photographer Wolfgang Volz’s book “Nomads for Art.”
Nothing, however, compared to the couple’s 26-year wait for permission for The Gates in Manhattan’s Central Park in 2005: 7,503 reddish-colored walkway curtains that stretched over 23 miles.
So, to return to my original question, what is the purpose of covering landscapes? Was the pair attempting to outperform Mother Nature? Why go through the effort of rewriting nature’s splendor? But wait, couldn’t we ask the same question about any landscape painter?
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The why is arc de triomphe covered is a question that has been asked for many years. Christo’s last artwork, the l’Arc de Triomphe shrouded in silk, was unveiled in Paris on October 5th, 2018.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will Arc de Triomphe be Wrapped?
This is a difficult question to answer. It depends on how quickly the wrapping crew can work, and how much it rains.
Why is Arc de Triomphe Wrapped?
The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris, France. It was originally built to honor the French military victories during the Revolutionary War and stands at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle.
What is the current Arc de Triomphe made of?
The current Arc de Triomphe was built in 1806. It is made of limestone and reinforced concrete.
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