This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Jeanne-Claude, 1935-2009.

Jeanne-Claude, 1935-2009. (photo)

Posted by on

Jeanne-Claude — Christo’s collaborator and partner — died today in Manhattan at the age of 74. It was fitting, in a way, not only because the artist pair have been residents of the city since 1964, but because their last big completed project was “The Gates,” which turned Central Park’s walkways into a series of orange vinyl doorways and drapes, portways of color livening up an especially dreary winter.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude have been shorthanded as the people who “wrap” things, which only goes so far. A bigger part of their projects was to rendering the familiar temporarily strange, whether by covering a bridge’s familiar outlines in fabric or by transforming it into an ominous new bulk.

Six times, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects have been documented by Albert Maysles (“Gimme Shelter,” “Grey Gardens”) and, before his death, his brother David. Besides capturing some memorable, deliberately ephemeral artwork in their wind-breathing majesty, the movies made it very clear that the projects, which could take forever to get all the necessary permits for (26 years in the case of “The Gates”), were at least as much about documenting the daily business of bureaucracy and paperwork as the final project. Bureaucracy was something Christo, a refugee of communist Czechoslovakia, surely knows a bit about. In capturing that oft-tedious process, the Maysles were full collaborators on the projects, which were at least as much illuminations of modern government machines as anything.

I saw them speak once, as a freshman at NYU, a few months before “The Gates” was scheduled to be unveiled. As on film, Jeanne-Claude could be abrasive, dismissive, pushy and just a little unlikable; she was also, it was clear, fiercely protective of and indispensable to Christo, doing most of the talking and buffering he clearly didn’t want to get sucked into. It was a pleasure and privilege to see such an iron-glued professional/personal partnership.

What was perhaps most remarkable about their seemingly esoteric projects were the levels of sheer glee they could inspire in civilians who would normally never give the time of day to anything remotely “arty” or “abstract.” When I went to “The Gates” twice, I heard nary a cross word. That’s another thing the Maysles documented.

Below is part one of 1974’s “Christo’s Valley Curtain,” a 28-minute document of the process of setting up a, well, hanging curtain across Colorado’s Valley Gap. When you have time, you really should sit down and watch all of it: as it goes on, it becomes an intensely intimate collaboration between Christo, Jeanne-Claude and a series of professional but at first deeply skeptical construction workers just there for the paycheck. When it’s time to make it work and the curtain comes down, their ebullient cheers are unforgettable. That Christo and Jeanne-Claude got pretty much anyone to think differently about what art could do for them is one of their biggest achievements. R.I.P. Jeanne-Claude; it was one amazing collaboration.

[Photo: “The Gates,” Lorber HT Digital, 2005]

Watch More

Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

Watch More

A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

Watch More

WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

Posted by on

Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

Watch More