Following the announcement made on Friday 29 May 2020 by the French Minister of Culture concerning the gradual reopening of national museums and monuments, the Centre Pompidou is pleased to confirm that it will be reopening to the public on 1st July 2020. The exhibition “Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Paris!” in Gallery 2, originally scheduled to open on 18 March, is therefore open to visits. Devoted to the couple’s Parisian period (1958-1964) and to the history of The Pont-Neuf Wrapped, Paris (1975–1985) project, this major exhibition has taken on particular significance in the wake of Christo’s death on 31 May. It will run until 19 October.
As of 1975, Christo and Jeanne-Claude developed the idea of wrapping the Pont-Neuf in Paris in a golden sandstone-coloured polyamide canvas, which would cover the sides and the vaults of the bridge’s twelve arches, the parapets, the edges and the footpaths (the public could walk on the canvas), its 44 lamps and the vertical walls of the central island of the western end of Île de la Cité and the Esplanade du Vert-Galant.
The major exhibition devoted to Christo and Jeanne Claude retraces the story of this project, from 1975 to 1985, and looks back at their Parisian period, between 1958 and 1964, before the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe in 2021.
The seven years Christo lived in Paris were essential to the development of his work as an artist. Christo broke free from the boundaries of the painting, as he began wrapping everyday objects and creating temporary artworks in public spaces. He also began conceiving works of art in monumental dimension, envisioning numerous temporary projects for the city. The first section of the exhibition presents around 80 works from 1958, the year Christo and Jeanne-Claude met, until 1964, when they moved to New York. The second section, “The Pont-Neuf Wrapped Documentation Exhibition”, retraces the period leading up to the realization of The Pont-Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975-1985 with a collection of around 300 items, including original drawings and collages, a scale model, photographs, documents, engineering studies and original components of the realized project. The exhibition also includes the screening of the film Christo in Paris (1990) by the Maysles brothers, which documents the ten years Christo and Jeanne-Claude devoted to The Pont-Neuf Wrapped and recount the biography of this extraordinary couple who has produced some of the most spectacular works of the 20th and 21st centuries.