The Umbrellas, Project for Japan and Western USA
Bulgaria, United States of America
13 Jun 1935 -
The Umbrellas, Japan-U.S.A. 1984-91
'The Umbrellas' was Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s only cross-cultural project. This $26 million project financed entirely by the artists took seven years to realise and ten months to install.
In Japan, 1340 umbrellas were installed on the properties of 459 private landowners and government agencies in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. In the USA, the chosen valley was located north of Los Angeles. There, 1760 umbrellas were installed on the properties of Tejon Ranch and 25 private landowners as well as government agencies.
The umbrellas were each 6 metres high and more than 8 metres in diameter, extending across 18 kilometres in Japan and 25 kilometres in California. While the umbrellas in Japan were blue, in California they were yellow, each conveying the seasonal colour and light of the region. Their colour and shape reflected similarity and difference and in each country they were assembled in different configurations, sometimes clustered together and at other times spaced out in lines, running alongside rivers and roads, fields and valleys.
At sunrise on 9 October 1991, the artists alongside 920 workers and friends in Japan and 960 in California opened the 3100 umbrellas. The umbrellas remained on view for 18 days.
collage: wax crayon, pastel, fabric, pencil
67.0 x 78.0 x 2.5 cm board; 68.0 x 79.0 x 4.5 cm perspex box
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pencil "Christo 1986".
John Kaldor Family Collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Not on display
Shown in 3 exhibitions
From Christo and Jeanne-Claude to Jeff Koons: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, 12 Dec 1995–17 Mar 1996
Journey to now: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 18 Apr 2003–06 Jul 2003
John Kaldor Family Collection Artist Rooms #1 - Christo:
- Gosford Regional Gallery & Arts Centre, Gosford 01 Feb 2013–01 Apr 2013
- Glasshouse Regional Gallery, New South Wales 04 Jul 2013–25 Aug 2013
- Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Booragul 13 Sep 2013–01 Dec 2013
- Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre & Liverpool Regional Museum, Casula 09 Dec 2013–26 Jan 2014
Referenced in 3 publications
Nicholas Baume, From Christo and Jeanne-Claude to Jeff Koons: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Sydney, 1995, 83.
Sophie Forbat, John Kaldor family collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Christo', pg.62-77, Sydney, 2011, 65.
Adam Free, Journey to now: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Adelaide, 2003, 60.