Alex Oliveira; courtesy the Peabody Awards Christo (R) and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude (L)

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, the environmental artist known commonly as Christo, has died at the age of 84. Renowned for the transformative installations created with his late wife and artistic partner, Jeanne-Claude, Christo passed away on May 31 at his home in New York.

Born on June 13, 1935 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, Christo studied at the National Academy of Art in Sofia, Bulgaria, beginning his artistic career in 1958 upon meeting his wife, Jeanne-Claude, in Paris. Working as the pair Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the duo created a number of works around the world, wrapping large buildings or structures in often vibrant fabrics, challenging the notion of the built environment and questioning the ways individuals interact with the structures around them.

Christo and Jeanne-ClaudeThe London Mastaba (2016-18)Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park
Wolfgang Volz/Courtesy Christo Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The London Mastaba (2016-18)
Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park

Some of Christo's seminal works include "Valley Curtain" in Rifle, Colo., (1970–1972) "Running Fence" in California's Sonoma and Marin Counties (1972-1976), "The Pont Neuf Wrapped" in Paris (1975–85), "Wrapped Reichstag" in Berlin (1972–95), and "The Gates" in New York's Central Park (1979–2005). After Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009, Christo continued their artistic legacy, completing "The Floating Piers"—his first large-scale project following Jeanne-Claude's death—in 2016. Christo also completed the "London Matasba" in 2018, using multi-colored barrels to construct a 660-ton, trapezoid-shaped sculpture that floated on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park.

L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris) Place de l'Etoile – Charles de Gaulle
Drawing by Christo / Photo by André Grossmann L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris) Place de l'Etoile – Charles de Gaulle

In his most recent work, L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, Christo planned to wrap the Parisian monument in a silvery blue recyclable polypropylene fabric and red rope. The installation was originally scheduled to open to the public in September 2020, however, it was postponed until September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wolfgang Volz "The Floating Piers" (2016)