Over the River (Christo and Jeanne Claude)

Dimensions65 cm x 100 cm x 109 cm
Materials Sandblasted glass, cast bronze, cast aluminum, and wood

Christo and Jeanne-Claude began the project “Over the River” in 1992 with a search throughout the Rocky Mountains for a suitable site. In 1996 they settled on the Arkansas River in Colorado and their object was to cover 5.9 miles of the river with a silver colored luminous fabric which would be suspended high enough so as not to cause any environmental issues. This was to occur in eight distinct areas (whose names are inscribed on the sculpture) over a 42 mile stretch of the river from Canon City to Salida. It took until 2011 for Christo to receive the necessary permits. The environmental impact study was begun in 2009 by the bureau of land management and when completed went to almost 1700 pages. Sadly, in 2009 during the late preparation for this project Jeanne-Claude died.

Once the environmental impact study was completed, a local group filed suit against The Colorado State Parks in State Court and the Bureau of Land Management in US Federal Court. Christo fought the suits and the project was due to begin construction in March of 2017.

On January 20, 2017 in a statement to the New York Times Christo decided to stop the project which was on federal land because he did not want it to benefit its new “landlord”.

This piece rends homage to these two masterful artist/collaborators and their vast vision which over the years had produced such projects as “Wrapped Pont Neuf” (Paris), “The Gates of Central Park” (New York City), “Running Fence” (California), “Valley Curtain” (Colorado), “Surrounded Islands” (Miami), and “Floating Piers” (Brescia, Italy).

Christo died in May of 2020 with many projects still waiting to be completed. The Arc de Triomphe in Paris will be wrapped posthumously and will be visible from September 18 to October 3, 2021.