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Covered in Color

Christo & Jeanne-Claude's Fabrics of Freedom



Abrams Books for Young Readers

(pub. 8.16.2022) 48 pages Author: Elisa Boxer

Illustrator: Susanna Chapman

Characters: Christo and Jeanne-Claude


" This biography chronicles Christo's humble childhood in Soviet-controlled Bulgaria—under a regime that suppressed individuality and creativity—to his international fame as a bold (and controversial) innovator in the art world. Christo discovered an early love of art and found a way to make a living out of his passion by wrapping bottles, cans, stacks of magazines, and even an air conditioner. When he met his wife, Jeanne-Claude, they moved to New York City as undocumented immigrants and became equal partners in both life and work—he, the artist, and she, the dealmaker.

Together, Christo and Jeanne-Claude made elaborate, visually stunning installations that transformed public spaces around the world, all free to the public. Christo never explained why he felt compelled to wrap things in fabric—rather, his work celebrated individual interpretation and the simple joy of seeing something familiar in a new way. And though each work was temporary, their awe-inspiring designs, uniting nature with the manmade, stayed with viewers long afterward. Covered in Color inspires readers to appreciate the beauty around us, however fleeting, and to push the boundaries of 'possible.'"

Tantalizing taste:

" For four weeks,

millions of visitors streamed into Central Park

to gaze up at the orange flags forming The Gates.

For twenty-three miles,

one million square feet of fabric

hung from more than five thousand tons of steel.

When the wind and the light were just right,

the cloth panels would touch together,

creating an orange ceiling of sunshine.

With his wild, wide-open creations,

and with Jeanne-Claude's help,

Christo freed himself

from the regressive governments

and their rigid rules

in the lands he had left behind as a young man."

And something more: Matthew Burgess, in the Author's Note, explains that "Christo and Jeanne-Claude never accepted donations or sponsors. Their public art was funded entirely thorough the sale of Christo's smaller-scale work. And while that work is still housed in museums across the world, Christo and Jeanne-Claude always emphasized that their large-scale public art was, in fact, designed to end. Which is ironic, of course, because such wild, wondrous, temporary works stay forever in the hearts and minds of all who see them."


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