Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Over the River – delay and disappointment

Christo has announced that the Over the River installation on the Arkansas river in Southern Colorado will be delayed another year. While I understand the necessity of this, I am nonetheless disappointed. I have been looking forward to this for some time.

I have seen two other Christo and Jeanne-Claude installations, Fences in Northern California and the Valley Curtain in Rifle Gap, Colorado. I was fortunate enough to get to Rifle Gap the day the Curtain went up. The next day strong winds forced the removal.

The reason for the delay is ongoing litigation by those that would stop the project. Because the project will take two years to complete, materials would have to be ordered soon in order for it to be completed in 2014. Christo does not want to order those materials until all legal impediments have been swept away.

So now it will be 2015.

It is truly unfortunate that the artistic value of this installation, not to mention the economic value, is being delayed. Many of us are working hard to make Denver and Colorado an arts tourism destination, this project will go a long way to helping that.

Christo has one other project in the works, The Mastaba in Abu Dhabi. The Mastaba, a pyramid like sculpture made from 410,000 multi-colored oil barrels. If realized it would be taller than the Great Pyramid at Giza and the largest sculpture in the world. It would also be the only permanent installation Christo has ever done.

The Mastaba was conceived in 1977, yet is progressing very slowly. Christo is 77 and with word today of the death of Gore Vidal, we are reminded that our time here is finite. Whether Mastaba can be realized remains to be seen, but we are so close with Over the River any more delay to that installation would be terrible.

Christo is used to delays and is very sanguine about it all. I am more impatient, but am trying to be sanguine about it as well.

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