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Who better than the renowned international masters of wrapping to unwrap Stanford's new emphasis on the arts and humanities in coming years?

Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, mesmerized a packed audience at Annenberg Auditorium in March, regaling them with tales of their projects that include the monumental wrappings of the German Reichstag, Paris' Pont Neuf and a sizable chunk of Australian coastline. Along with noted architect Peter Eisenman and French writer and playwright Hélène Cixous, Christo and Jeanne-Claude were the first visitors of the 20 distinguished artists, authors, playwrights, critics, historians and philosophers who will come to Stanford during the next two-and-one-half years as part of the Stanford Presidential Lectures and Symposia in the Humanities and the Arts.

In his welcome to the pair, President Gerhard Casper said that he hoped the guest lecturers in the series would help “the arts and humanities to become more visible and dynamic participants in shaping, enriching and challenging the intellectual agenda across the university” in the months to come. He also noted that the campus has been “under wraps” since he arrived in 1992, and that although the miles of orange running fences and wrapped buildings on the Quad could best be described as “Loma Prieta-induced temporary large-scale environmental works,” they also might have been “an homage” to the visiting artists.

The artistic partners of 40 years told the audience that their lasting enjoyment of art often is crystallized in “gentle disturbances” that last only a matter of days. Their remarks were accompanied by 45 minutes of color slides that highlighted their best-known projects, from the orange Valley Curtain they stretched across a canyon in Colorado to the 24-mile Running Fence in Northern California and pink-encircled Surrounded Islands of Miami's Biscayne Bay. They also responded to detailed questions about their work,

Time for Humanists and Artists (Plain text)

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