from the San Jose Mercury News

Jeanne-Claude, artist, dies at 74

Jeanne-Claude — whose collaboration with her husband, Christo, in creating massive environmental works of art, such as the 24-mile-long “Running Fence” in California in the 1970s, attracted worldwide attention for decades — has died. She was 74.

Jeanne-Claude, who, like her more famous husband, used only her first name, died Wednesday night in a New York hospital of complications from a brain aneurysm, her family said in a statement.

The husband-and-wife team had been involved in creating large-scale, temporary environmental art projects since 1961, including wrapping the Reichstag in Berlin in more than a million square feet of silvery polypropylene fabric in 1995.

In 1976, they installed “Running Fence,” which consisted of 2,050 white fabric panels extending across 241/2 miles in California’s Sonoma and Marin counties.

Returning to California in 1991, they installed 1,760 gigantic, custom-made yellow umbrellas along an 18-mile stretch of the Tejon Pass, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles. A bi-continental project known as “The Umbrellas,” it included the installation of 1,340 blue umbrellas in Ibaraki, Japan.

“The Umbrellas” had a tragic twist when heavy winds tore one of the 485-pound umbrellas from its stand and killed Lori Keevil-Mathews, a Camarillo insurance agent who was viewing the art project with her husband, Michael Mathews.

In 2005 came “The Gates,” in which more than 7,503, 16-foot-tall vinyl gates with free-flowing saffron-colored fabric panels were set up along 23 miles of walkways in New York City’s Central Park — at a self-financed cost of $21 million.

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