In some ways, it’s almost impossible to believe how controversial many of Christo and Jean-Claude‘s projects have been. The Orange Gates in New York City took 26 years (from 1979 to 2005) to be realized after many controversies and rejections (and that was in the art capital of the world). Christo and his late wife Jean-Claude work with fabric, after all, and their installations are always temporary. So what’s the big deal? In the case of The Umbrellas, installed in both Japan and the US two people died in accidents. Critics of the Over the River Project have similar concerns related to both public safety, impact on business and recreation, and environmental impact. A group calling itself Rags Over the Arkansas River, or ROAR raise concerns about the impact on Bighorn Sheep, Bald Eagles, and the effects that up to a 1,000,000 visitors in a two lane canyon over two weeks could have on the its residents. Would ambulances be able to get through in the event of an emergency? What about sewage? and wildlife access to the 5.9 mile stretch (of 40 total miles in the canyon) of the water that would be covered? And yet the project is also estimated to bring in millions of tourist dollars to Colorado and international attention during the two weeks it would be installed. Additionally, none of the project itself would be publicly financed.

Regardless of the outcome, Colorado, and Southern Colorado in particular, will certainly be remembered for this project and the decision-making process. The Bureau of Land Management will have the final say over the project, which would be installed during the summer of 2013 at the earliest. They have extended the comment period until September 14 and you can read the Environmental Impact Statement HERE.

-You can email them at

-You can use the BLM’s online comment form HERE

-You can send them a letter to: BLM RGFO, OTR Comments, 3028 E. Main St., Canon City, CO 81212.

-Or you can call them at (719) 269-8599.

If you want to add


5 Responses to 11 Days Left to Comment on Christo's Over the River Project

  1. Chris says:

    Just because it’s big doesn’t mean it’s art. But what is art, anyway? I’m not qualified to answer that question, but I have serious misgivings about this man’s project. I just don’t see the point of it. Why drape this fabric over the Arkansas River at all? Just so he can say that he did it? And if it poses as serious a threat to the surrounding environment as a lot of people say it does, then it shouldn’t be given the green light. The more I hear about this project, the less I think it has to with art than ego.

  2. R. A. says:

    Putting this rag over the river is tantamount to putting a paper towel over a butterfly and calling it art. You can’t improve upon nature.

  3. a laszar says:

    The world believes that Cristo is a great Conceptual Artist. Colorado should be thankful that the Artist wants to create art of our state. The international aclaim that would be bestowed upon Colorado not to mention the revenue from the appreciators of art visiting our state could be a huge boost to the economy. Those who are not familiar with Cristo should know what his works entail and how concerned he is with the impact on the environment. I completely support the opportunity for this state to have a real piece of history, the landscape itself is art. Whether you appreciate art or not.

  4. Sarah M. says:

    This project will bring world attention to Colorado – there is always a great deal of interest by the press in Christo’s projects. Consider the banners at Central Park – many people spoke of walking through them as being a “magical experience”. I suspect that rafting under the banners across the river will be too – it’s a big visual spectacle which one would never normally see anything like it; one can only see for two weeks and it would never be seen again. I know people are upset about the goats, but I truly feel that if the goats survived the road and railway being built, this installation isn’t going to be a big deal for them. The economic benefits, employment and interest in the area will be splendid!

  5. Lenore Fleck says:

    The pictures don’t look especially spectacular. Maybe they don’t do it justice? I guess rafting under the fabric would look pretty cool. From the road view, it would be rippling in the wind and reflecting the sky. Maybe I need more imagination to appreciate a long piece of fabric reflecting the sky. I know the river gorge is very beautiful as it is now. The 1-1/2 to 2 year construction seems long for a 2 week show. I know the wildlife would potentially have “access” under the fabric, but I wonder if they’d be scared off from those areas due to the long period of extra activity and just the change in appearance of their habitat. I’m just not wowed by the presentation. Maybe I’m missing something.


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