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LX.TV Interview with Jeanne Claude and Christo, Renowned Environmental Artists

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I had been warned about how hard it was to interview Christo and Jeanne-Claude. I’ve even heard they once made a reporter cry. So the entire crew and I knew this was going to be a wild ride from the moment the husband-wife team walked in the room; they told us they needed to be next to each other with the camera a certain distance away, Jeanne-Claude switched chairs abruptly in the middle of answering a question, and they even directed us on how they thought we should produce the segment throughout the interview.

But what I realized during the interview is that their iconic work goes hand-in-hand with their one-a-kind, eclectic personalities. I couldn’t take it personally if they cut me off or told me I wasn’t right because that’s what they do to each other. If anything, I felt like the lucky third wheel. They were giving me a rare glimpse into their unique world.

Though they may be art icons whose multi-million dollar installations have caused both uproar and applause, they are also just two 72-year olds. Their stories of how they met, Christo’s humble beginnings and their constant interruption of each other’s comments made me feel as if I was with my grandparents. When I asked them if they plan to retire, Jeanne-Claude told me their motto: “Artists don’t retire, they die.” We all laughed together.

Shira Lazar

Recorded at Jeanne-Claude and Christo’s studio
New York

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