Throughout their five-decade career, Christo and Jeanne-Claude completed surreal landscape installations that encouraged people to see, feel, and interact. Their site-specific works spanned the globe—from fabric-swathed cliffs on the Australian coastline to artificial yellow piers floating throughout an Italian lake—and garnered a dedicated following of culture-hungry pilgrims, eager to catch the miraculous works before they disappeared. Even though both Christo and Jeanne-Claude have passed away, they left behind detailed plans for future artworks, the first of which commenced with the wrapping of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe in fabric last fall.
Now comes The Mastaba, the world’s largest sculpture and the couple’s only permanent, large-scale public artwork. First conceived after a 1977 trip to the United Arab Emirates, the piece features 410,000 multi-colored steel barrels arrayed in a giant trapezoidal shape that echoes Islamic architecture and which, from afar, evokes a giant monolith partially submerged in the sand. Given its massive size (492 feet high, 984 feet long, and 738 feet deep), construction will be no small feat. Once the estate secures government approval, development is expected to take at least three years, meaning the sculpture will be unveiled around 2027—five decades after it was first conceived.