Christo in his studio working on a preparatory drawing for Surrounded Islands, New York, 1983.
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) presents Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980–83 | A Documentary Exhibition, an exhibition of archival materials and artworks around the renowned artists’ site-specific 1983 installation, Surrounded Islands, in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. On view from October 4, 2018 through February 17, 2019, the exhibition commemorates the 35th anniversary of Surrounded Islands—an anniversary that also coincides with the founding of PAMM’s predecessor institution, Center for Fine Arts. The history of Surrounded Islands is inseparable from PAMM’s origins, and the exhibition reinforces the idea that the museum’s evolution is inextricable from the development of Miami as both a city and an artistic hub.
In May of 1983, Christo and Jeanne-Claude encircled 11 manmade uninhabited islands in Miami’s Biscayne Bay with 6.5 million square feet of floating, pink, woven polypropylene fabric. For just under two weeks, the results harmonized with water, sky, and foliage, creating a vivid composition in blue, green, pink, and turquoise. Despite its short duration, Surrounded Islands made a lasting impact on the city’s cultural history, marking the birth of Miami’s international artistic profile while anticipating its rise as a hub for contemporary art.
Surrounded Islands was an endeavor of epic ambition, and the upcoming exhibition will present the entertaining and inspiring history by which this project became a reality. It is a narrative of empowerment, exemplifying the idea that lone individuals are capable of marshaling large civic forces to bring their dreams to fruition—that with determination, willpower, and compelling vision, anything is possible.
(Photo by Wolfgang Volz.)