POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
The Reichstag in Berlin in 1995, wrapped in polypropylene fabric by Jeanne-Claude and Christo (Image and caption via: NYTimes)
I accidentally spelled Jeanne-Claude’s name wrong over twitter yesterday (it’s Jeanne-Claude not Jean-Claude ), ensuring that the woman would turn over in a grave she’s likely not even hit. The New York Times and their ArtsBeat blog both have full obituaries on the newly deceased the artist, who is best known for wrapping public monuments with partner Christo. Given the amount of pre-existing coverage, I won’t be writing to much on the subject here, though a few anecdotal comments prompted by my misspelling on facebook are worth posting.
James Westcott: I made the same mistake when interview her once, pronouncing her name “jon” instead of “jaan” [don’t know how to spell that phonetically, but you know what I mean] and she got mad. She was a firebrand, and in that interview, a couple of years before The Gates, gave me a great quote: that the Central Park Conservancy “blackmailed” her and Christo into giving a $3 million donation in order to get permission to do the Gates. But she was also a diplomat, and quickly requested that I change the quote to the slightly softer “extorted”. Somehow I couldn’t refuse her.
Dave Harper: a fond memory: i one sent a letter to christo and jeanne-claude, spelling her name as above [jean-claude], in the masculine. she faxed it right back to me with big, angry circles around her name and a note. i still have it hanging over my desk and will never misspell “jeanne” again 🙂