Christo JAVACHEFF (1935 - 2009)
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Professionally known by his first name, Christo Javacheff was born in Gabrovo, a small town in the Balkan Mountains of Bulgaria. Christo studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia, where he learned to paint in the strict realistic styles advanced by the Soviet government. In his youth, Christo was a member of the Communist Youths and, therefore, participated in art propaganda projects while in school. In 1956, Christo studied theater design in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Being a part of a group of artists identified as "Nouvelle Realism," Christo made his first wrapped sculptures. He wrapped everyday objects, including beer cans, road signs, and even cars. His first major foray, Iron Curtain--Wall of Oil Barrels (1962), was displayed in Paris. He called these wrapped statues "temporary monuments" and continued to show them after moving to New York in 1964. Through his temporary monuments, Christo challenges the idea that sculpture is a permanent object, thereby defying convention and expectations.