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Package 1961

1961 Christo Born: Gabrovo, Bulgaria 1935 fabric and rope on wood 29 x 24 3/4 x 8 in. (73.7 x 62.9 x 20.3 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment © 1961, Christo 2000.30 Smithsonian American Art Museum
3rd Floor, North Wing

Gallery Label

Package 1961 is a commonplace object, a work of art, and a life history. A few bottles or cans are the only recognizable forms under the canvas wrapping, firmly bound with rope and attached to a shipping pallet. It is a mysterious object on its way from one place to another.

In the late 1950s, Christo made his way from Bulgaria to Paris, and eventually settled in the United States in the early 1960s. His journey took him from a communist society hidden behind the Iron Curtain to the democratic West, where he began creating ambiguous images of freedom and constraint. Christo made Package 1961 after he had found personal and creative liberty, but the muffled forms suggest something or someone fighting against the tightest control, as if the artist could not quite free himself from the suffocating grip of the Soviet Bloc.

Christo acknowledges that his upbringing in a communist society plays a part in his desire to make art for the pleasure of ordinary people. Package 1961 transforms common materials into a work of art that conveys the artist's history as a man from two different worlds.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006


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