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Christo's "Over the River" project: Will the Colorado Wildlife Commission sink it?

Christo Blog Head.jpg
The acclaimed artist Christo (rendered here by Kenny Be) has a talent for subduing vast landscapes, charming financial backers and reassuring locals about the economic and aesthetic value of his unique projects.

But he hasn't managed to friend anybody over at the Colorado Wildlife Commission.

Indeed, the commission has emerged as a formidable foe in his quest to stretch six miles of silvery fabric over the Arkansas River between Cañon City and Salida.

The governor-appointed commission voted 9-0 earlier this month to send a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management opposing the construction of "Over the River," Christo's proposed $50 million landscape wrap. The move gives aid and comfort to local commuters worried about the traffic impacton U.S. 50 and outdoor activists fretting about displaced bighorn sheep, frustrated fishermen and other disruptions.

"There are no redeeming values of this project from a fish and wildlife perspective," commissioner Robert Streeter said at a workshop in Salida, according to this account in the Denver Post.

The commission's thumbs-down is hardly definitive; the body doesn't have any direct say over whether Christo's dream is realized. But the BLM can hardly ignore the letter as it ponders the various endorsements the artist has received from politicos and tourism interests, as well as lots of grousing from people who live in the area.

Another commissioner, David Brougham, called the no vote a "no-brainer." Fans of Christo's work probably feel the same way about him.

More from our Kenny Be/Comics archive: "Christo's "Over the River" project is now under the gun: Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario."


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6 comments
kurt
kurt

Draping fabric over structures in Central Park or other urban areas is great. Didn't Cristo learn the first time he tried to put fabric up in the mountains in Colorado? The Rifle Gap project was a failure, and the litter and debris of the infrastructure of that project are a blight. For all his, supposed, vision and scope Cristo could never create anything as complex and profound as the Arkansas River Valley (or any landscape for that matter). His failure to understand the disruption a project like this would inflict upon the flora and fauna just shows how nearsighted and narrow his artistic scope is; probably not much longer than his ding-a-ling.

Charles Rollman
Charles Rollman

Sheep, while important, are only a piece of the equation.My impression, based on local responses to many articles on this subject, is that the Colorado public is overwhelmingly opposed to Christo's 'Over The River'.  Christo should stay in New York and decorate Times Square, in my opinion. 

NoRagsontheRiver
NoRagsontheRiver

 Who wants to see a bunch of rags hung over the Arkansas river?  Fail!

Robert
Robert

Nothing says "Public Art" to Colorado like bronze statuary -- why, you can buy it at American Furniture Showcase.  

Jude
Jude

What are you talking about?  I live in Rifle.  The project was NOT a failure, and the only thing left behind are the concrete things where the cables hung.  I loved the Valley Curtain project.  I didn't see it while it was intact, but they left it up for a week and it was a wonderful experience to ride my bike under it.  Christo and Jean Claude were beloved by a lot of people who lived here.  Mostly we are left with just great memories of a fun time. 

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Thanks for the post, which we're going to make an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats.

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