Replay: Christo

December 6, 2010 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

Earlier tonight, the Architectural League of New York hosted a presentation by Christo (and by Jeanne-Claude in spirit). Christo energetically shared some very candid insight into his current projects, his professional history, and his process.

The bulk of the presentation was centered on “Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, Colorado,” described on the project’s website as “a two-week temporary work of art” with plans to intermittently suspend 5.9 miles of silvery, luminous fabric panels across the banks of a 42-mile section of Arkansas River in south-central Colorado.


Over The River Life-Sized Test For aesthetic and technical considerations, four life-size prototype tests were conducted in 1997, 1998 and 1999 on private property near the Colorado/Utah border. Photo: Wolfgang Volz, © Christo 1999. More images can be seen in Over The River’s gallery.

Christo described the project (and others) with a humorous  and surprisingly endearing bravado. He discussed the permitting process and other forums of critical feedback (for example: the definitively non-supportive “Rags Over the Arkansas River” organization) as an integral part of the project development process. He joyfully explained how fulfilling it is to receive feedback (positive and negative) during these parts of their projects since “people don’t talk about the sculpture until it is sculpted, or the painting until it is painted.” But people talk about Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects at length, often for years, before they are installed.

If the permitting process for “Over the River” continues as planned (including a review of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement – a first for a work of art – by the Bureau of Land Management), the installation will be up for two weeks in August 2014 – after 22 years of development.

December 6’s daily design idea is open up about your process.

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