L’Arc de Triomphe is Wrapped!


Photo credits to: Matthias Koddenberg © Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation

Tara Afshar, Journalist

Artist Christo’s posthumous work will finally be unveiled. Christo’s final request from his nephew Vladimir Yavachev before his death in 2020, was that his installation of the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris come to fruition. Originally, the installation was due to take place in 2020 but was delayed due to COVID 19. The wrapped temporary artwork will soon be on display at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris from September 18-Oct 3, 2021.

Christo born in Bulgaria was studying art in Sophia, before he defected in 1957, and made his way to Paris, where he met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon. She would soon become his wife, partner in crime, and artistic collaborator. Together they created many temporary wrapped installations such as the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin in 1995, the Pont Neuf in Paris in 1985, Wrapped Coast in Sydney, Australia in 1969, Valley Curtain in Colorado, the US in 1972, Surrounded Island in Florida in 1983, The Gates, Central Park, NY in 2005, Floating Piers in Italy in 2016, London Mastaba Serpentine Lake, and future projects left to be completed by their foundation in Abu Dhabi under his nephew Yavachev’s supervision.

Their art installations have always been self-financed through sales of Christo’s drawings, scale models, and various other pieces of his artwork. What is brilliant is that visitors of his latest installation will not only touch, feel and see this environmentally conscious installation but the Arc will be wrapped in 25,000 square meters of blue and silver recyclable polypropylene fabric fixed with 3,000 meters of red rope. AP Art History student Alex Cheng said “I’m so excited to see that Christo’s installation is being continued and can’t wait to see the results! The meaning behind his works is often highly elusive and differs from person to person, so I am curious to see how I will interpret this work. Viewing the art tribute as a photo will be drastically different than viewing it in person, but I hope that I can still experience the shimmering effects that plastic will have in some way. Nonetheless, I’m glad that Christo’s final work is being brought into fruition and his decades-long worth of work is being remembered.”

Ann Hidalgo, the current mayor of Paris said, “ thirty-five years after the Pont Neuf, one of the most ambitious projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude will see the day……the Arc de Triomphe will be wrapped according to Christo’s wishes, to highlight the symbolic monument of our capital and history.”

Ms. Valdes’ lucky AP Art History classes have been learning about Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artwork and will be watching. When asked about the work she said “I think it’s fantastic that Christo’s team is bringing his ideas to fruition because he would have wanted people to experience this work. He has worked for decades on this with Jeane Claude, up until recent years, and the fact that it could not happen last year was very devastating to him. I think that his team is wanting to bring this to life for Christo, and since this is the final project it acts to honor him in some way”. The live stream unveiling of his latest installation in Pais, on September 18, 2021.