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Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art / Wrapped Floor and Stairway: 1968-1969

Overall view of Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art

Overall view of Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1968–69, 1969, gelatin silver print, Shunk-Kender Photography Collection, Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art Library, Gift of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation in memory of Harry Shunk and János Kender.  © Christo. Photograph: Shunk-Kender © J. Paul Getty Trust. All Rights Reserved.                                              

In 1964, Christo and Jeanne-Claude moved to the United States and settled in New York City; in 1967, Harry Shunk and János Kender went to Canada and then also relocated to New York. They began photographing for the artists again, now extensively documenting the large-scale projects Christo and Jeanne-Claude were creating, including two works for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, which were the artists’ first wrapping of a public building in the United States. The museum’s director, Jan van der Marck, coordinated the project and later became the project director for Valley Curtain. For Wrapped Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1968–69, the artists, museum staff, and local art school students spent two days covering the building exterior in 10,000 square  feet of water- and fire-resistant brown canvas tarpaulin and four thousand feet of Manila rope, leaving the roof and exits of the museum uncovered. For Wrapped Floor and Stairway, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1968–69, Christo and Jeanne-Claude draped the interior lower gallery, which had been cleared and painted white, with 2,800 square feet of off-white cotton dropcloth secured with ropes.

The finished works were exhibited as Christo: Wrap In Wrap Out, and were on view to the public January 18 through March 2, 1969.