Christo to wrap Arkansas River in silver


AFP

WASHINGTON–Christo, the artist famous for wrapping landmarks around the world, revealed Tuesday his next project: suspending silvery fabric over the Arkansas River in the western United States. “Over the River” will see eight sections of the river between Salida and Carson City in Colorado covered with a total of 5.9 miles (10 kilometers) of billowing aluminized panels that will change shade over the course of each day. Formal approval for the ambitious undertaking came Monday from the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency within the Department of the Interior that administers public lands in the United States. Seen from above, the panels — to be hung two to eight meters (6.5 to 26 feet) above the river — “will resemble waves at sea,” the Bulgarian-born artist told AFP at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. “It’s a fabric with many folds, but not always horizontal because one river bank can be higher than another,” he said, adding that from below, kayakers will get a sense of clouds and rolling mountains. Christo, 76, started conceptualizing “Over the River” in 1992 with his wife and collaborator Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009. Together they had undertaken 22 works of “environmental art” including the wrapping in fabric of such international landmarks as the Pont-Neuf in Paris and the Bundestag in Berlin. “Over the River” will be financed entirely by Christo, who is selling preparatory drawings to the public. It has already cost him US$10 million and the final price tag could be five times that amount. Christo already has another project in the works: a re-creation of a mastaba, or ancient Egyptian tomb, in the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi with 390,500 brightly colored oil barrels.