The excerpt below is from a piece I wrote for Art Critique last week. The article commemorates both Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artwork, Surrounded Islands, as well as the exhibition Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980–83 | A Documentary Exhibition.
Grand ideas often meet with great opposition. So it was for Christo and Jeanne-Claude when they presented their large-scale art installation, Surrounded Islands, to the City of Miami, FL in 1981. The artists proposed to encircle 11 islands in Biscayne Bay with over 550 million square meters of pink fabric. Although the artists’ oeuvre included other monumental projects, such as the Valley Curtain in Colorado, U.S.A., Surrounded Islands was the first time that their artwork would affect a large city.
Few if anyone foresaw the profound transformation that the two-week site-specific installation would spark in Miami. The exhibition Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980–83 | A Documentary Exhibition, currently on view at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), celebrates the artists’ lasting legacy and the artwork’s role in the histories of the city and museum.