Christo and Jeanne-Claude considered the building “perfect,” because “it looks like a package already, very anonymous. Its façade is a fake
wall covering the original structure.” Although they had just wrapped
the Kunsthalle Bern in translucent polypropylene, the artists decided
“for aesthetic reasons” to shroud the Chicago museum in greenish-brown
tarpaulin, which would give greater physical presence to the building
and make a better contrast with the snow.
The wrapping commenced
on January 15, 1969. Students from the school of the Chicago Art
Institute of Design assisted for two days on the outside of the
building, which was garbed in 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of
heavy tarpaulin and 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) of Manila rope. Every
precaution was taken to assure the public’s safety. No exits were
covered, no windows existed to cover, and small openings were cut in the
tarpaulin to keep the building’s air vents unobstructed. To be doubly
safe, the museum’s director, Jan van der Marck, prevailed upon Christo
and Jeanne-Claude not to wrap the roof of the museum.