Christo's Arkansas River Project Falls on Stony Ground in Colorado

Culture | August 13, 2010, Friday // 16:28|  views

View of train & Arkansas River near Canon City, CO. Photo by

The Bureau of Land Management in the American state of Colorado has proposed modifications of a large-scale artistic project of Bulgarian-born artist Christo along the Arkansas River.

Christo Javacheff and his late wife Jeanne-Claude, who are famous for their unorthodox, large-scale artistic projects, first presented the “Over the River” project in 1992.

It is to be constructed on the Arkansas River near Cañon City, Colorado on the eastern slope of the Rocky mountains, and provides for horizontally suspending 6.7 miles (about 10 km) of reflective, translucent fabric panels high above the water, on steel cables anchored into the river's banks. Those are to be installed in eight spots along the river within a range of close to 70 km.

Project plans call for its installation for two weeks during the summer of 2013, at the earliest, and for the river to remain open to recreation during the installation.

The US Bureau of Land Management, which met in Denver, Colorado, to discuss issuing an environmental permit for the “Over the River” project, however, has proposed modifications to it over local concerns, reported The Denver Post. The BLM proposals provide for changes of the scope, the amount of fabric, and timing of Christo’s project.

Local concerns range from blocking the traffic on the US 50 highway and thus incurring losses to businesses in the area to harming the environment along the Arkansas River.

Bulgarian-born Christo has reacted by making it clear that any modification would affect his vision of the artistic project, and that he would not go ahead with “Over the River” if it has to be changed.

Similar past works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude include the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, the 24-mile-long artwork called Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin counties in California, and The Gates in New York City's Central Park.

Their projects have been opposed before – the The Gates in the NYC Central Park was only permitted in 2005 by the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, even though it was first proposed by the artists in 1979.

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Tags: Colorado, Arkansas River, Jeanne-Claude, Christo, artist, Over the River


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