Cover image for Christo and Jeanne-Claude : on the way to The Gates, Central Park, New York City
Christo and Jeanne-Claude : on the way to The Gates, Central Park, New York City
Fineberg, Jonathan David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press in association with Metropolitan Museum of Art, [2004]

Physical Description:
viii, 212 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm x 31 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N7193.C5 A64 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



This remarkable book documents Christo and Jeanne-Claude's long-awaited Gates installation in Central Park. It includes an illustrated introduction that surveys the artists' many innovative public projects, reproductions of their preparatory work for the Gates, and four unpublished interviews.

Author Notes

Jonathan Fineberg is Gutgsell Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois, Champaign
Wolfgang Volz has been the exclusive photographer for all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's projects since 1972

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the artists responsible for such memorable wrapped pieces as "Surrounded Islands" (bright pink fabric floating around 11 islands in Biscayne Bay in Florida), and "Running Fence" (2.3 million square feet of fabric stretching down to the ocean in Sonoma and Marin counties in California), have been planning a major piece in New York City since they arrived in 1964. Unfortunately, their ideas, which included wrapping the Museum of Modern Art, were continually stymied both by private owners and the city. In near-giddy anticipation, this book from art historian Fineberg (The Innocent Eye) offers 50 b&w and 160 lush color illustrations, meticulously and compellingly contextualized, of the 7,500 saffron-colored vinyl panels they plan to suspend along the walkways of New York's Central Park in February 2005. First conceived in 1979, it will be the pair's first completed New York project. The catalogue, which accompanies an exhibition of the artists' work at the Metropolitan Museum, is almost a sociological text in how public art gets made-or, more often, not made. Four interviews ranging from 1979 to 2003, photographs of meetings with city officials and community boards, extensive biographical and critical background, as well as plans, maps, beautiful drawings of the Gates and photographs of their construction expose poignantly how grand artistic ideas are transformed by the long trek toward realization. In one interview, Christo says, "One of the lowest objections was that I am a communist spy and the Fence will be used as intercontinental missile targets." (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Published to coincide with a recent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, this 360-degree view of an art project and its evolution documents the efforts of husband-and-wife artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude to bring The Gates to realization. The artwork is a procession of 7500 freestanding gates with saffron-colored fabric panels that will be positioned to highlight 23 miles of walkways in New York's Central Park. But The Gates is much more than colorful outdoor sculpture. As Fineberg (Christo) points out, the artists view their efforts as a way to observe diverse segments of society (e.g., city officials, factory workers assembling the work, park visitors) trying to incorporate the art into their frames of reference, living and working in relation to the project, compelled to look more closely at their social role, their relation to one another, the environment they live in, and their understanding of what art is. It's a fascinating and, to most, unfamiliar artistic strategy that this book describes well through intelligent writing, interviews, photographs, drawings, and sketches. For all libraries.-Michael Dashkin, PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Written in conjunction with a Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition on the Central Park Gates Project by Christo and his wife/partner Jeanne-Claude, this volume offers a quick overview of the artists' wrappings and installations over the past 35 years. Previously unpublished interviews between the artists and critic Fineberg (art history, Univ. of Illinois, Champaign) as well as photographs of their major works frame a central group of large color plates. These illustrate the drawings and collages that the team produces in preparation for such large-scale projects (both to work out the design and to sell in order to raise money for their privately supported sited art). Much of this briskly drawn and intensely colored art is visually appealing but often offers redundant information about the central Park Project, which has taken more than 25 years to realize. By placing these pieces in the context of other texts and documentary photographs, this book makes abundantly clear that the artists' visually stunning public installation work is not just the result of aesthetic choices but involves a commitment to community consultations, governmental approvals, and the technical challenges of materials and engineering. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. R. J. Onorato University of Rhode Island

Table of Contents

Philippe de Montebello
Forewordp. vii
On the Way to The Gatesp. 3
The Gatesp. 59
CaptionsJeanne-Claude and Jonathan Henery
Christo, 1977p. 127
Christo, 1982p. 151
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 1983p. 157
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 2003p. 169
Chronologyp. 197
Bibliographyp. 199
Museum Collectionsp. 205
Acknowledgmentsp. 207
Indexp. 209