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January 25, 2017 01:46 PM UTC

Christo Pulls Plug on "Over The River" To Protest Trump

  • 6 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
A sketch of the Over The River art project.

As the New York Times’ Randy Kennedy reports, famed macro-scale artist Christo is abandoning the long-anticipated Over The River art project, which would have draped cloth panels over miles of the Arkansas River in south-central Colorado:

For more than 20 years, the artist Christo has worked tirelessly and spent $15 million of his own money to create a vast public artwork in Colorado that would draw thousands of tourists and rival the ambition of “The Gates,” the saffron transformation of Central Park that made him and Jeanne-Claude, his collaborator and wife, two of the most talked-about artists of their generation.

But Christo said this week that he had decided to walk away from the Colorado project — a silvery canopy suspended temporarily over 42 miles of the Arkansas River — because the terrain, federally owned, has a new landlord he refuses to have anything to do with: President Trump. [Pols emphasis]

His decision is by far the most visible — and costly — protest of the new administration from within the art world, whose dependence on ultra-wealthy and sometimes politically conservative collectors has tended to inhibit galleries, museums and artists from the kind of full-throated public disavowal of Mr. Trump expressed by some other segments of the creative world. Last week, the artist Richard Prince fired an opening salvo, returning a $36,000 payment for an artwork depicting Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, owned by her family…

“I use my own money and my own work and my own plans because I like to be totally free. And here now, the federal government is our landlord. They own the land. I can’t do a project that benefits this landlord.”

Asked to elaborate on his views of the new president, he said only, “The decision speaks for itself.” He added, “My decision process was that, like many others, I never believed that Trump would be elected.” [Pols emphasis]

We’ve had some fun at the expense of this project, which has been in the planning stages for almost as many years as we’ve been writing about Colorado politics–but the fact is that Christo along with his late wife Jeanne-Claude have been working toward this goal for years. The millions spent on the planning stage of the project, not to mention long costly legal battles to keep it going in the face of fierce local opposition, are certainly nothing we would expect to be abandoned lightly.

Well folks, it looks like Donald Trump was the straw that broke the artsy camel’s back.

Comments

6 thoughts on “Christo Pulls Plug on “Over The River” To Protest Trump

    1. Christo is an interesting artist. He just picked the wrong place for this wrapping project.

      By your standards, Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, O'Keefe, also probably were "whack jobs."

  1. Over the River would have been a good project for a financially-strapped part of Colorado. Fremont County is just like all those right-wing poverty-stricken communities and states who will vote for the Trumps of the world until the end of time. Over the River would have brought in some tourist dollars that are currently limited to rafting and the Royal Gorge Bridge. But I'm sure Trump will rescue these folks who cannot seem to rescue themselves – perhaps he'll build a bigger wall around the Federal prison complex south of Florence. 

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