Saturday, September 18, 2010


I am currently teaching a 101 college level art history class, and many of these students have had very, very limited exposure to art prior to this class. Yes, this past Wednesday evening, as we discussed Environmental Art, I was completely and utterly thrilled when I flashed up this image by Christo (an artist none of them had heard of prior):

and several of my students happily exclaimed: "It's just like the AT&T ad!"  Well, I must be a good teacher...or the connection is so blaringly obvious you really don't have to have much of a visual eye at all to see it. "Yes!  That is exactly right", I told them, is JUST like the AT&T ad.  Except Christo did it long before AT&T ripped him off.  Here is Valley Curtain  from 1972:

And his Gates from 2005:

And here is AT&T's version:

And more AT&T:

Here is Christo's Wrapped Reichstag from 1995:

And here is AT&T's version of wrapping buildings:


A poll by Huffington Post readers determined that 85% of people felt this was a complete rip off and not just a coincidental similarity.  Regardless to say, Christo and his wife/business manager protested and threatened to sue.  Now, the ad airs with a very tiny disclaimer: "The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have no direct or indirect affiliation or involvement with AT&T." 

For god's sake people, his wife's hair is even the same color as the AT&T fabric!  Come on! (His wife, Jeanne-Claude, is now billed as an equally contributing artist in his installations, however, I refuse to give her equal credit.  Sure, she keeps him sane and makes sure he is not totally taken advantage of during the sale and execution of his artwork, but totally equal they are not.  He is the artiste.)

And just one more here: Christo wrapping the Gold Coast of Australia:

And Christo wrapping islands in Miami (fyi, I actually still have a small piece of this pink fabric from when I visited back in the mid-eighties.  It sure looked cool, but alas, there were a number of dolphins that perished during the installation):

And here is AT&T wrapping some coastline:

So you see, it's not even just the fabric wrapping idea in general that was pinched, but generally, AT&T stole all of his location ideas as well.  Check it out for yourself on You Tube:


  1. I think those coporate monkeys completely ripped him off. Still, the Cristo's spoke at my high school about 15 years ago and they were both freaks, artistes or not.

  2. Don't those two have dolphin blood on their hands from that Miami debacle. I saw the wife pitching one of Cristo's projects. She looked pretty glassy-eyed to me, and she FELL off the stage in the middle of the presentation. Maybe she has lead poisoning from all the hair dye.

  3. Well, I guess there is no great love for Christo and Jeanne-Claude in this crowd....I must admit they are eccentric and bizarre, but that's what it takes to be a great artiste correct? And as far as environmental art goes, I think his is pretty cool. Thanks for the comments!

  4. I've only seen the AT&T commercial once, and I instantly jumped to Christo within just a few seconds. Of course this idea was taken from his work... it's too obvious. How could it not be a copy? I laughed about the disclaimer at the end, but now I know why it's there... thanks for the post!

  5. Thanks for the comment Nicole....yes, it is PRETTY obvious!

  6. I thought that perhaps AT&T had collaborated with Christo to make those ads. What a disappointment & a complete rip-off that they didn't! Christo is clearly the winner on this one.