Since the early 1960s, international art pair Christo and Jeanne-Claude have been transforming land, space, and various buildings with their outrageously scaled impulse to wrap areas and objects with materials like brightly colored nylon and rope. In 1968, for the Documenta IV event in Kassel, West Germany, the two produced a towering 279-foot inflated "package" requiring the assistance of five cranes, two of which were more 200 feet high and weighed 200 tons each — the largest to be found in Europe at the time. In 1969, they mummified Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, swathing it in 10,000 square feet of tarpaulin. They might be best known for their 1976 project Running Fence, a sprawling installation involving two million square feet of nylon fabric set along 24.5 miles in Sonoma and Marin counties in California. Or their 1983 Surrounded Island, in which they encircled 11 small islands in Miami’s Biscayne Bay with floating bright pink skirts of polypropylene fabric, a project that Christo has called "my water lilies." Or their 1985 Wrapped Reichstag, which shrouded Berlin’s famous parliamentary building in silver foil. Do note that all works are temporary; the artists are famously environmentally-friendly, protecting their sites during installation and restoring them unharmed thereafter.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude will be in Beverly this Friday to participate in inaugural ceremonies for Montserrat College of Art’s new president, Stan Trecker, who has spent the past decade at the helm of the Art Institute of Boston. An afternoon of festivities surrounding the inauguration will culminate in a lecture and presentation by the artists, who will preview two works in progress: The Gates, a project for New York’s Central Park, and Over the River, for the Arkansas River in Colorado. Meanwhile, "Posters Detailing the Projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude" will be on view in the Montserrat College of Art Gallery through December 14.
’Tis the season for great deals on art around town, all in the name of some good causes. One of the first holiday benefit auctions to take place is also one of the best: for the ninth year, the New Art Center in Newton stages its staggering "Icons + Altars" exhibition, which this year includes 96 artworks created around the topic of shrines and spirituality — very broadly interpreted. Created by the likes of Gerry Bergstein and Clara Wainwright, the art promises to be first-rate; tickets to the benefit raffle are $200, and that guarantees you one of these fine works, but it doesn’t cost a thing to attend the gala opening reception this Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., or to visit the show, which is up through December 15.
Another pre-turkey art party that vows to wow the senses is "ArtRages," the annual benefit bash at Mobius. Taking place next Saturday, this year’s edition will include performance art and installations by Kristina Lenzi and Dillon Paul in addition to the usual notoriously raucous music, dancing, eating, drinking, and other merrymaking. See Liza Weisstuch’s preview in the "Performance" column of this section.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude speak at Briscoe Middle School, 7 Sohier Road in Beverly, this Friday, November 15, at 4 p.m. A limited number of free reserved tickets are available; call (978) 921-4242 extension 1126. "Posters Detailing the Projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude" is on view at Montserrat College of Art Gallery, 23 Essex Street in Beverly, through December 14. "Icons + Altars" is at the New Art Center in Newton, 61 Washington Park, Newtonville from November 15 to December 15; the opening reception is this Friday, November 15, from 6 to 8 p.m.; call (617) 964-3424.