Depending on who you talked to, Christo was either a landscaper, a visual artist or a stunt man. Everyone agreed, though, that he was able to bring awareness and anticipation to seemingly pointless projects — wrapping a building up like a leftover, encircling an island in pink, or draping an open park space with the illusion of gates.
While Christo and his partner, Jeanne-Claude, looked for money and worked out the details for a project, the public snickered, argued, and debated what does and doesn’t constitute the meaning of art. When the final product was presented, those fortunate enough to observe it in person saw that the ordeal wasn’t so much about transforming buildings and canyons, but about transforming each other.
The death of Christo might have been bigger news this week, had we not collectively put on a bigger show than he and Jeanne-Claude ever imagined. We were busy dying from poor public health decisions, xenophobia, violent demonstrations, peaceful demonstrations, ignited race relations, tear-gassed citizens, mystery soldiers, insane displays of lightning over D.C., global economic collapse, record unemployment, a photo op that will live in infamy, and locusts.
Yep, America was way too busy to pause for the passing of Christo. Or were we? The week when Christo died might be described someday like a Christo project. Some spin, never enough money, a lot of debate, a lot of pain, dedication, hard work and if we’re fortunate enough to get there in person, transformation.