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The Clark "Wraps Up" Christo with Documentary Marathon February 19

For Immediate Release

February 14, 2005

As artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude prepare to unfurl their latest environmental project, "The Gates," in New York City's Central Park this month, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will present an afternoon of films about the controversial artists. On Saturday, February 19, from noon to 5:30 p.m., the Clark will present a continuous marathon screening of five documentaries about Christo's and Jean-Claude's massive but ephemeral art projects, made by Albert Maysles and associates over three decades. Admission is free.

The Clark's program will begin at noon with an excerpt from the Maysles' film in progress, about "The Gates," be followed by Christo's Valley Curtain at 12:30 p.m., Running Fence at 1 p.m., Islands at 2 p.m., Christo in Paris at 3 p.m., and Umbrellas at 4 p.m.

"These five films represent an extraordinary sustained collaboration between artists and filmmakers, and they are the most immediate record imaginable of some of the very greatest works of contemporary art," said Steve Satullo, the Clark's film programmer. "Each of these acclaimed films stands as the permanent record of lengthy planning and fleeting beauty, of political wrangles and emotional commitments, and of the transforming effect of the Christos' projects on their varied sites and various viewers, both rural and urban, both art sophisticates and ordinary skeptics, across many different cultural divides."

The Academy Award-nominated short Christo's Valley Curtain (1974, 28 minutes) focuses on the hanging of a huge orange curtain between two Colorado mountains.

Running Fence (1978, 58 minutes) is about the building of a 25-mile, 18-foot-high fence of white fabric across the hills of northern California.

Islands (1986, 57 minutes) explores the political and physical struggle to surround eleven islands in Miami's Biscayne Bay with acres of bright pink fabric.

In Christo in Paris (1990, 58 minutes.), the wrapping of the Pont Neuf across the Seine provides the occasion for Christo and Jeanne-Claude to revisit the history of their relationship.

Umbrellas (1995, 81 minutes) depicts thousands of immense umbrellas being opened simultaneously, blue in a rice-farming valley of Japan, yellow across the arid hills of southern California.

"The Gates" by Christo and Jean-Claude will open in Central Park on February 12, and be open for 16 days. The installation will transfrom central Manhattan with 7500 steel gates along the walkways of Central Park, 16 feet high, with free-hanging, saffron colored fabric panels.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5p.m. Gallery admission is free through June 26, 2004. For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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