In 1983 Miami's image -- and Miamian's morale -- was at a low ebb. The dislocating effects of the Mariel Boatlift were still being felt; crime was skyrocketing and South Florida, labeled "Paradise Lost" by a "Time" cover story, was in a state of crisis.
Then in May artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, along with hundreds of volunteers and other collaborators, started wrapping some of the little islands in Biscayne Bay with pink fabric, and joining the fabric on the islands to more that spread across the water. Stretching and stitching, they worked for three days realizing Christo's vision: "Surrounded Islands" -- an audacious, astonishing, beautiful artwork that transformed Biscayne Bay and Miami's image.
For two weeks "Surrounded Islands" remained in place, enthralling locals, stimulating business and changing the way the world looked at Miami. A fading, crime-ridden beach town bloomed again as the world's media flocked to Miami, not to cover drug smuggling and immigration tensions, but to revel in Christo's paradisiacal pink creation.
If "Surrounded Islands" was a jewel, Miami was its setting. The world -- and Miamians -- admired both.
These video clips, selected from the collections of the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives, record the excitement and skepticism with which South Floridians greeted "Surrounded Islands" and give a glimpse of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's creative process. Enjoy the clips -- and if you have memories of
Note: Some of these clips show evidence of playback issues. This is a feature of the archival video sources from which the clips are derived.
This video and audio is copyrighted/owned by the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives.
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