The husband-and-wife team of Christo and Jeanne-Claude made an art career out of wrapping things: packages, buildings, fountains and, famously in 1983, the islands of Biscayne Bay. Though they're not local artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have had a special resonance with the people of Miami. Last year, the Miami International Film Festival honored their work with a screening of a documentary about the "Surrounded Islands" project.
After Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009, the art world wondered what Christo would do without her. The sweet, sad, and jaw-dropping answer: He's wrapping space itself, and giving viewers the opportunity to step inside.
Christo's first major work since his wife's death is Big Air Package, a giant, "inflated envelope" rising nearly 300 ft. high at the Gasometer Oberhausen in Germany. An official press release lists measurements of the silo-shaped structure as 50 meters wide (about 164 ft.) and a volume of 177,000 cubic meters (6,250,000 cubic feet). According to the statement, "the work of art is the largest ever inflated envelope without a skeleton."
German art fans can actually step inside the towering white structure and look skyward at its daunting height.
Christo (right), Jeanne-Claude (center) and their chief engineer Mitko Zagoroff (left) during the installation of 5,600 Cubicmeter Package in August, 1968.
In the installation, Christo seems to be referencing 5,600 Cubicmeter Package, a 1968 work he completed with Jeanne-Claude. Call me a romantic, but this new, massive, white, glowing space, created in the wake of the loss of Christo's closest companion and collaborator, looking back at one of the pair's early art projects, seems filled with love and memories. Take a look at these photos of its construction and completion while I go have a good, long cry.
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Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.