Update: The Battle continues for Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Over the River” Project

Photo: Wolfgang Volz / © 1999 Christo

The battle carries on as world-famous artist Christo fights for approval to construct a temporary work of art that will suspend 5.9 miles of silvery, luminous fabric panels high above the Arkansas River, along a 42-mile stretch between Salida and Cañon City in south-central . Over the River has been on the drawing boards for 20 years now, with over $7 million of Christo’s money invested into it with environmental studies, mock-ups, surveys from the air and wind tests.

In November, Christo received approval from the federal Bureau of Land Management, which owns 98 percent of the riverfront. This was a huge step forward in the project and now only a few more local permit approvals are standing in the way.

Continue reading for more.

Supporters and opponents gathered at the final public hearings earlier this month fighting for officials to consider their input on the temporary permit. Opponents fear that the $50 million project, entirely paid for by the artist, will disrupt the pristine landscape and cause dangerous traffic within the winding canyon.

Christo’s team has promised ambulances and helicopters on standby incase of an emergency during the exhibition, along with more than 20 Colorado State Troopers enforcing a no-stopping rule.

“We are fearful of impeding our way of life on a day-to-day basis for years to come. We are fearful for the wildlife and sanctuary that we enjoy,” Opponent Thomas Kainz of Howard said. “Most importantly, fearful that we are faced with yet another case where someone with deep pockets and political connections gets their way like some spoiled child. Mr. Christo may see this as some wild juxtaposition between the line of fabric in the surrounding nature over the roaring river, but to me, I see it as a bastardization of the beautifully pristine, quiet countryside that I and many, many others choose to live in.”

If the proposal is approved, construction will begin this Summer and Christo will exhibit Over the River for two consecutive weeks in August, 2014, at the earliest.

Learn more about the project here on ArchDaily and read about three interesting perspectives on “Rinaldi: Understanding artist Christo’s work demands a view with multiple voices” by the Denver Post.

Reference: Denver Post, Over the River 

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Update: The Battle continues for Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Over the River” Project" 14 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=208176>
  • Sam

    “over $7 million of Christo’s money”

    I’m in the wrong field.

  • bLogHouse

    if you are prominent in your field as Christo is prominent in his, you’d have this money in any field.

    • Oban

      I do not think the talent is correlated with richness,
      I remember a certain Vincent Van Gogh which was rich in talent but very poor with his own money.

      • bLogHouse

        you might want to check the dictionary for the meaning of “prominent” and whether it implies anything like “talent”. And regardless of what you think of Christo, he earned his fame and richness with his work.

  • Johann

    “I have so much money I don’t know what to do with it… oh wait! Rivers seem sooo naked I can waste 50 million bucks in some shreds of fabric!”

  • gusta

    do we need this?
    if i were the Bureuau of Land Management i would stamp a big ‘veto’ in this project with the notes: go spend some millions somewhere else or in a cause that really matters.
    art don´t need to be expensive.

  • gearloose

    Christo’s project includes using mining equipment to drill 9000 six inch diameter holes many feet into the rugged and rocky river banks. This damage will be visible for hundreds of years, if not a millenia. It is totally inappropriate to give this the innocuous sounding title of ‘art’.

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