National Gallery of Art
Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the Vogel Collection previous next

Wrapped Reichstag, drawing 1995

Wrapped Reichstag, photograph 1995
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Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95

In 1971, ten years after the construction of the Berlin Wall, Christo and Jeanne-Claude conceived of wrapping the Reichstag, which as the former seat of a democratic German parliament had become a potent symbol of a city and country divided. But the artists, who met with hundreds of East and West German government officials, did not receive permission to wrap the historic structure until 1994, after reunification.

A 200-ton steel framework was constructed to alter the proportions of the building and allow 1,076,000 square feet of aluminum-coated polypropylene fabric to cascade over the sides of the structure. From 17 to 24 June 1995, workers unfurled the metalized fabric and bound it with 17,060 yards of blue polypropylene rope. Wrapped in the silvery material--more than double the covered surface--the building seemed to move in the wind. Five million visitors witnessed this new transformation of the Reichstag, which remained on view until 7 July.

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