Christo Wrapped My Heart

Dorian Whitmore

My favorite part of Christo’s legacy is how he came to develop his signature style. He wrapped a piece of his art for transport so creatively that the display people hung the piece fully wrapped. It began the ‘wrapping phase’ which still endures.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were a collaborative artist duo known for their monumental environmental installations. She passed away in 2009 but he continues creating from his New York studio.

I met Christo and his spirited wife in San Diego once. It was power at its source. They were so alive. They wrap big things: Buildings. Bridges. Dreams. What started as a shipping error became a channel for his passion.

Earlier in life, I married and was a social diva for about five minutes in San Diego. The elaborate invitations that began arriving after our wedding were each a keepsake piece. In my own Camelot era, my husband Ron and I attended quite a few galas and affairs.

One uber-elegant invite welcomed us to the brand new Palladian downtown; dress called for black-tie artsy. My husband’s grandfather John Alessio escorted me as Ron had to work at the family restaurant. Mr. A had once been ‘Mr. San Diego’ and has a lengthy reputation. Oddly, we both wore a black tuxedo with tails that night.

One of the Meridien Salon’s hair artists named Sabastian pinned black spin curls into my big blond mass of hair (which I brought from Texas). It was that hair style that prompted Christo’s wife to stop me and ask to see it up close. I commented on her fiery red hair and she said Christo mixed the color just for her.

As I knelt to show her the creation on my head, our picture was taken. That photo appeared in the local paper. We mailed a copy to their studio in New York and they responded with an autographed postcard that I framed and cherish.

The work inspired by Christo and Jean-Claude’s incredible energy combination is rare. Their art wraps the world in big ideas-a shared, expanded vision. It is filled with vibrancy and generates inspiration for the masses-a welcome addition to the current art world.

When I see Christo soldiering on without his partner and artists like Yayoi Kusama who navigates her artistic vision at almost 90 years from her room in a psyche ward, I see their souls fighting to show up on the radar of humanity. It’s a beautiful sight. Both need not worry. Their visions have become part of time’s landscape.

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