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The How To Issue

How to Work With Your Spouse: Christo

How to Work With Your Spouse: Christo

Illustration by Neal Fox

Jeanne-Claude was extremely critical and I am very critical, and we fought nonstop—that was probably the most important part of our work. Of course there were hurt feelings, problems, difficulties, but it was never personal. We loved each other, and we loved the things we were doing. We met in 1958. I was 23 and she was also 23 because we were born the same year, the same day, the same morning, the same hour, on June 13, 1935. We started working together by simple necessity. Our works are very complex. It’s impossible to do them as a single person. Jeanne-Claude had enormous energy and, of course, I cannot stand lazy people. We were always engaged. There was also a certain interdependence. I don’t know how to drive. I hate talking on the telephone. I don’t have the slightest idea of how the computer works. I don’t believe in flat images. Jeanne-Claude was in the office with three assistants. She was doing all these things. I never think about why we stayed together. I didn’t have time to think about it, because we were busy facing problems with our projects. I think couples fall apart because they have no problems. Now I always try and think of what she would say, what her advice would be, but it’s impossible to know. — As told to Caroline Winter 

Christo is an artist who with his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, is most famous for wrapping the Reichstag in aluminum-coated fabric.

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