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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Visionary Art or Over the Top?

Photo: Christo, 2010

Red flag or wet rag? The Wall Street Journal ran an article this week about artist Christo's latest proposed project: to suspend fabric over 42 miles of the Arkansas River in Colorado. The 72-year old Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude, are famous for their larger-than-life installation art projects which involve wrapping entire buildings in fabric (like the Reitestag in Germany) and creating over 23 miles of fabric panels in Central Park, NY.

Now, Christo, 72, is trying to convince locals to come around to his $54 million dollar swan song: to unfurl a mirror-like fabric over the Arkansas in southern Colorado to mimic the twists and turns of 43 miles of this ancient river. The project is so immense it's had to undergo an environment impact statement under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a gauntlet of studies usually reserved for things like mining, dam building and highway construction. Supporters contend that a project like this can bring welcome attention, tourism and revenue to the area. In fact, the Bureau of Land Management estimated this project could draw more than 300,000 tourists to the river and generate over $120 million in economic impact. Opponents fear short-term damage to the ecosystem, traffic snarls and too many people tromping around their quiet communities. Still others feel like the idea of this project is a desecration of the majesty of mother nature.

Me, I'm on the proverbial 23-mile long fence on this one.

What do you think? Leave a comment and share your perspective.

posted by the River Rat