Since March is Umbrella Month, allow me to tell you a little bit about the history of the umbrella and how they are being used today. Umbrellas have been in existence for thousands of years, when umbrellas were originally used to shade important persons from the sun. But soon people realized that umbrellas functioned as a wonderful shield from the rain.
Gradually, umbrellas started to “open up,” trending all across the world. Now, you can find umbrellas in every color, in various patterns, and used for purposes more than to just keep you dry. Umbrellas can be found outside of homes as seasonal décor, used as props in a dance, or if you look at Pinterest – as “Easter baskets” full of goodies! However, one unique purpose of the umbrella is as focal points in art installations.
“The Umbrellas,” California – Jon Delorey – Flickr
One of the original umbrella art installations occurred in 1991, when the husband and wife duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude created their $26 million art installation, “The Umbrellas.” A total of 3,100 steel-framed, aluminum-structured umbrellas were constructed in California. 1,340 blue umbrellas were shipped to Japan for installation, and the rest of the yellow umbrellas were installed in California. Each umbrella measured 19 feet high and 28 feet in diameter. These umbrellas were installed by nearly 2,000 workers and only displayed for 18 days. This colossal display was meant to reflect the similarities and differences in life between the two countries; Japan and the United States, which both were installed in valley areas at the same time.
Streets of Águeda, Portugal – Courtesy of Pixabay
Another interesting umbrella installation is exhibited in Agueda, Portugal. During the Agitagueda Art Festival, hundreds of colorful umbrellas form canopies over the streets and walkways. Known as the Umbrella Sky Project, this installation began during the festival in 2011, and has become an annual attraction ever since. The umbrellas not only serve as shade to keep these bustling pedestrian walkways cool in the hot summer months, but they also bring a sense of livelihood to people as they walk under the multicolored sky. These umbrellas can be seen in the months of July, August, and September.
“London – Channel 4 Headquarters” by cherington- Flickr
The final umbrella project I would like to mention is the Channel 4 logo outside of London’s headquarters, created out of umbrellas by Stephanie Imbeau in 2009. An enormous number “4” was created out of 1,000 umbrellas, most of which were gathered from the London Transport Lost and Found. As Stephanie stated, this sculpture was primarily created “just to brighten peoples’ day a bit and give them something to look at that was quite out of the ordinary.”
There have been many more umbrella art installations displayed across the world. Perform a simple Google search to see what umbrella exhibits you find! Also, the Bellevue University Library has an “Umbrellas” Pinterest board for you to peruse. Therefore, please remember March is Umbrella Month, so make sure you are covered this spring with your favorite umbrella!
18 Umbrella Installations: http://scribol.com/art-and-design/art/18-incredible-umbrella-art-installations-from-around-the-world/
23 Incredible Umbrella Installations: http://www.architectureartdesigns.com/23-incredible-umbrella-art-installations/
Agitagueda’s Art Festival: http://www.agitagueda.com/en/
Christo & Jean-Claude’s, “The Umbrellas”: http://christojeanneclaude.net/projects/the-umbrellas
Portugal’s Umbrella Sky Project: https://www.pps.org/places/lqc/umbrella-sky-project/
Umbrella Month: https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/umbrella-month/
Umbrellas Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/bellunivlibrary/umbrellas/