I had the good fortune to attend a lecture by Christo on Wednesday. He was discussing his proposed "Over the River" project to be sited in Colorado's Arkansas River Valley in 2013, hopefully. His visual record of previous projects and stories were wonderful. A series of collages, hand done, that he has produced to show the effect of the fabric covering portions of the river, were stunning. Sales of these preliminary works completely fund the eventual installation.
The amount of work that is done to research potential site(s), get permits, test materials, assure engineering success, and win environmental and/or community approval is simply amazing.
He talked about his use of fabrics and how we usually can only feel the wind, but once the fabric is incorporated into his projects, we can also see the wind. Another part of his work that he stressed was the importance of scale and the relationship of the viewer to the work, most recently evidenced in photos of The Gates installation in New York City.
I was struck by Christo's incredible tenacity, energy level, and ability to discuss his work in simple terms. It takes years for his projects to come to fruition and then they are so ephemeral. He described his art as "creating gentle disturbances for a few days." I wish I'd written down more of what he'd said!
I came away thinking that it would be great to see the installation from above and perhaps even more interesting to see it from below, on a raft! (A Denver Post article takes a more objective view.)