In these next two (and final) parts, one could say I get into the nitty gritty of my argument, really fleshing it all out and making large hypotheses (perhaps even sweeping generalizations).
To catch up, read part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the Politics of their Art: How they are (shrewdly and discreetly) Socialist, Anti-American and Revolutionary - part 4
The careful planification of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s works in America, compared to anywhere else, can be read as a critique of America’s cultural takeover and overly capitalistic character. Though this may not be completely intentional (Christo and Jeanne-Claude would never execute a work to get such an individual point across) their work is made to make the viewer think, feel, and contemplate outside the everyday. Consequently, from the average opinionated individual, such a reading could not help but be extracted. Their work, particularly in America, juxtaposes the industrial strength of the 20th and 21st centuries with the timeless beauty of the natural world, bringing up environmental concerns more relevant in the United States than anywhere else. Much of their work makes use of disparities and juxtapositions. The Umbrellas, for example, was fashioned in order to spur discussions over the differences between Japanese and American cultures. Planned and executed in the stretch of ten years, the work was immaculately deliberate. It used the countries’ many differences involving climate and land usage and availability, juxtaposing Japan (and the Pacific East’s) limited yet cultivated lush mountain climate with American West’s vast and arid often uncultivated valleys. Japan using their resources as efficiently as possible; America with such great potential and so little results. In an interview with the director of 5 of their films Albert Maysles, Jeanne-Claude comments on a visit to colleges in both California and Japan. These talks were conducted in order to recruit workers for the project. During questioning after each of the talks Jeanne-Claude noted that the first question at a Los Angeles university was in regards to the cost of the work and who would pay for it. In Japan, on the other hand, the first question was not economic but rather an aesthetic concern regarding the choice of colors for the umbrellas of each country. Now think about the innumerable diverse reactions to the work from the more than 3 million who visited it during the 14 days the site was open to the public and the millions more who studied it years before and after through diverse forms of media. One can only imagine the great social/critical effect the work had on the two country’s populations and the world.
To be continued. For references, leave me a comment.