January 26, 2017

Trout 1, High Art 0: The Arkansas River Will Remain Undraped

Christo and his late wife and collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, in 2009
with a sketch of how "Over the River" would look (Keystone/Dominic Favre).
Zee artiste Christo has canceled his plan to drape miles of the Arkansas River in plastic sheets. 

He blamed Donald Trump of course, but locals who have fought the project since 1992 want some of the credit for his decision.
The controversial project that was first conceived in 1992 by Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, has been mired in legal battles as opponents feared the environmental impacts of the 14-day installation above the river between Salida and Cañon City that would take 2½ years to build.
Opponents' bumper sticks are often seen.
The Arkansas River is heavily used for whitewater kayaking and rafting, and many boaters (but not all) were not happy about the project.

The Denver Post quotes one opponent:
Colorado river activist Gary Wockner was equally excited, although more snarky. “This may be the first good thing Trump has done for Colorado’s environment,” he wrote in an e-mail.
The New York Times called the Colorado opposition the world's largest art protest, quoting Christo as blaming President Trump for his decision. In other words, from their point of view, it is not about Coloradans protesting Christo's decision to hang plastic over the river, it is about his protest of Trump's election.

Maybe that is just an excuse, and local opponents ran out the clock. In a Wednesday announcement, it was reported elsewhere, Christo did not mention President Trump but said, "After pursuing Over The River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado, for 20 years and going through 5 years of legal arguments, I no longer wish to wait on the outcome."


Peculiar said...

Apparently the failure to produce the work of art was in fact the work of art. Or something.


"Congratulations, Christo, the cancellation actually prolongs the project in its purest form — as an object of talk — and no fish or frogs, trees or bighorn sheep had to be displaced to get that done.... I once asked him how he described the project to people who are unfamiliar with it. He didn’t talk about fabric. He simply said “our project is the things.” By that he meant the meetings and court filings, the studies and debates, the photo books he made, the insults people slung at him."

Maybe this is why I'm not an artiste. Or maybe I am, who the hell can tell? I too failed to to cover the Arkansas River anything! Ceci n'est pas...

Chas S. Clifton said...

It is certainly true that the sale of drawings, etc., help to finance the whole enterprise — and I use the word "enterprise" advisedly.