We have no idea and if you have seen "Gone With the Wind," "Frankly, my dear, we don't give a hoot." Because we don't do it for the people, we do it for us. If other people like it, it's a bonus.
And you are paying for it by selling Christo's art?
If we don't sell we cannot build. We're not rich people. We spend everything we have and everything we can borrow from the bank and no money back.
That's why we have problems. They think either Christo and Jeanne-Claude are lying or they're crazy. And since we are not lying we are probably crazy. And by the way, I'm sure you already know, money is like manure. It's good only if you spread it around.
The umbrellas cost $26 million in 1991. That is probably $40 million today. Not so easy to sell. We have taken the precaution of arranging with a bank in Europe to have a line of credit. If by chance we wouldn't sell fast enough our workers would all be paid.
What can you sell?
You can look at the preparatory works on the website [christojeanneclaude.net]. There are drawings and collages and there are prep works for other [projects]. And we sell work we have in our storages of the '50s and '60s and '70s. We sell everything we have but our son.
With a project in New York do the prices go up?
Yes, the prices went up the moment we got the permit. And if we happened to have a shortage, even though Christo works in his studio 17 hours a day every day, then the price will go up again. Now you know we live in America. Supply and demand.
So what do these pieces cost?
For "The Gates," it starts for the very small ones at $30,000. As the dimension grows then the price grows like children. The bigger they are, the more they cost. Very large ones 8 feet across or 8 feet high, I would think for "The Gates," the very large ones are $600,000. For the "Over the River" it's half the price because Christo has all the time in the world to create more. Christo never creates a preparatory drawing or collage once a project is completed.
What has the mayor bought?
He bought a large one and a medium-sized one. Before we got the permit. And he didn't pay that [much] because the price went up after we got the permit.
So now we know how he became a billionaire.
No, but he knew we needed the money to start. He knew the next day we're going to place an order of 5,000 tons of steel.