The Minneapolis Package
Did Christo's 42390 cubic feet empaquetage ever reach its fulfillment? If it did, it was for a brief moment, never to be recaptured. This is consistent with the artist's view that his creations are transient and that inflexible values and properties are absurd. In terms of f1exibility of concept and execution 42390 cubic feet empaquetage has been a milestone in Christo's wrapping career. The Minneapolis School of Art invited Christo as a guest instructor in its Foundation Department and assigned him 147 first year students to assist on the execution of a gigantic packaging project.
The package looked Iike a captive dirigible, glistening in the sunlight. Christo and his students scurried around it, adjusting ropes, checking the air pressure and driving in stakes. One of the high altitude balloons burst and had to be replaced. Two hundred of the small balloons fell victim to over-inflation, trampling feet or burning cigarettes. The winds of the plains, coming in gusts up to 25 miles an hour, made the giant package roll and strain at its ropes. One of the most beautiful sights was the sun passing through the layers of transparent polyethylene and catching the colors of the bumptuous balloons, which, kept in motion by the steady air stream, acted as though they were having a feast inside.
More than has ever been the case in Christo's wrapping projects the result attained distinguished itself primarily by its visual beauty. The artist went beyond the mere manifestation, the gesture of appropriation or the treatise on the absurd. This package could be appreciated on the level of a happening, but it was manifest to all who witnessed its ephemeral existence, that it was a colossal sculpture as well. Jan van der Marck