Art Culture

Environmental Art Impact: Memorable Christo and ‘Over the River’ in CO 2021

| August 11, 2021 | 0 Comments
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Christo “Over the River”, preliminary design

Christo: The clock is winding down for public comment on what may be the first formal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) ever required for a work of art: Christo’ s proposed Over the River project in southern Colorado.

The Wall Street Journal did a pretty good story on this a few days ago, though the title “Christo vs. Colorado” is somewhat misleading. The project has plenty of local supporters as well as “say no to Christo” detractors.

Over the River is a project that Christo and Jeanne-Claude first envisioned 18 years ago.  Like other Christo projects it involves the deployment of massive amounts of fabric on a landscape scale–in this case a 42 mile stretch of the Arkansas River. For two weeks in 2013, silvery fabric would be hung suspended on wire cables over the river, as it winds through a remote stretch of rocky canyon.

The artist has already invested over $7 million in project logistics and regulatory compliance. While some locals are worried about crowds and traffic problems, others are excited about the estimated $120 million outside revenue the project is expected to bring to the region.  Concerns have also been raised about possible effects on wildlife during the temporary installation.

The site location is largely on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management, which is now wrapping up a two-year process of preparing the Draft EIS. This is the same process required when any major public lands project is undertaken, and just as in the case of a new road or bridge the EIS will consider both the original proposal–the work intended by Christo–and various alternatives aimed at minimizing impacts.

Public comment means you. Christo admirers can express their support for Over the River through an online comment form by midnight September 14. The artist specifically is asking for statements of support for the project as originally conceived, which is “Alternative 1A” in the Draft EIS.

Christo Over the River1a 1
Christo, “Over the River”, preliminary design
Christo OtR2
Christo, “Over the River”, preliminary design

Over the River is a project that Christo and Jeanne-Claude first envisioned 18 years ago. 

Category: Contemporary Art

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