Christo, Artist Behind Central Park’s ‘The Gates,’ Dead at 84

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Artist Christo, best known to New Yorkers for his massive bright-orange vinyl Central Park instillation “The Gates,” died Sunday at the age of 84. Born Christo Javacheff, the artist collaborated with his wife, French artist Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, until her death 2009 at the age of 74. “Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible, but realizing it,” his office said in a statement reported by the Hollywood Reporter. “Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artwork brought people together in shared experiences across the globe, and their work lives on in our hearts and memories.” No official cause of death has been released.

The duo’s eye-catching Manhattan work, both enjoyed and derided by New Yorkers, was the largest ever installed in the city. Its official title was “The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979–2005,” denoting the year the pair pitched the piece and the year it was actually erected. As Christo and Jeanne-Claude, they produced many temporary, site-specific works of environmental art, included wrapping Berlin’s Reichstag in fabric, draping the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, and constructing “Wrapped Coast” in Sydney’s Little Bay. Upon his death, Christo had several installations in progress scheduled to be built, including “L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped,” set to debut in September 2021.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, joined by Mayor Mike Bloomberg, watch the unfurling of “The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979-2005’” in 2005. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Christo, Artist Behind Central Park’s The Gates, Dead at 84