Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Daily Art - Big yellow umbrellas!

Some time last summer, I picked up a grab bag of note cards at a thrift store for a couple of bucks.  There were some more generic things in the bag - thank you cards, birthday cards etc.  There was also a ton of hand mounted photo note cards by a local photographer.  A lot of the photos featured pictures of big yellow umbrellas set up in the desert and, last week, one of my fellow crafty folk told me the history behind the umbrellas.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were a couple best known for their "environmental" works of art.  Back in 1991, they commenced the umbrella project.  A total of 1,760 yellow umbrellas were constructed in Tejon Ranch, the largest expanse of privately owned land in California, sitting about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.  Simultaneously, 1,340 blue umbrellas were constructed in Ibaraki, Japan.  Each umbrella stood 6 meters high, and over 8 meters in diameter, the entire cost of this art project ended up at about $26 million.  Unfortunately there were 2 deaths in relation with this exhibit - a woman died here in the US after being hit by an umbrella that came loose in the wind, and a Japanese worker was electrocuted while taking down the umbrellas.

Just searching for "Christo's Umbrellas" in Google brings up some of the most amazing images of the umbrellas in both the US and Japan.  When I first looked at these notecards, I really had no idea that they had any particular significance.  Now I know the story behind them, I'm in love with the bizarre but beautiful concept.  It's really something I would have loved to have seen, even though the exhibit was only there for 18 days.

Jean Claude June 13, 1935-November 18, 2009

1 comment :

  1. I saw them! I was living in the Central Valley of CA at the time, and we had to drive that pass to get to LA. It was really quite a sight.