The Christos fund their own work to retain their artistic autonomy:
Sixteen days after it is completed, The Gates will be dismantled and recycled. The total cost of this fleeting exhibit is estimated at $23m (£12.2m). It will be paid for entirely by the Christos. "It takes what it takes," says Jeanne-Claude, "which is everything we've got and everything we can borrow." They pay for their large-scale projects through the sale of Christo's detailed preparatory sketches (the largest of which go for $480,000), so as to maintain complete artistic autonomy. "We do not accept sponsors," Jeanne-Claude says, "because we wish to work in total freedom. We want to do what we want, where we want it, how we want it."
However, the Christos almost never get to do things when they want to. They spend years in public hearings, courts and even parliamentary sessions (the Bundestag voted on whether or not they should be allowed to wrap the Reichstag), in their determination to see their concepts realised. 'The most difficult part is getting the permits," says Jeanne-Claude. "It took us 25 years to finally wrap the Reichstag, 10 years to wrap the Pont-Neuf. We have completed 18 projects - The Gates will be the 19th. But we have failed, F-A-I-L-E-D, 37 projects."
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