Christo Called “Eco-Terrorist” Over Arkansas River Art Project

Christo Javacheff, the artist best known for draping entire buildings and New York’s Central Park in fabric, has run into opposition over his next project. Over the River, a work that would cover a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River in Colorado, is being called eco-terrorism by Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR), the main group fighting against the artist. Christo, 75, has already spent $7 million and 18 years on the project.

But that’s nothing new for the controversial artist. In the early ’80s, he spent several years assuring fishermen and environmentalists that he could safely wrap 11 islands in Miami’s Biscayne Bay in floating pink fabric, a project that he called Surround Islands. It took 24 years (1971 to 1995) of campaigning to be able to wrap the Reichstag, a historical government building in Berlin, in fabric.


Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1995.

However, Christo always fought these long, entrenched battles with the aid of his wife, Jeanne-Claude, who took charge of the day-to-day red-tape issues. Sadly, Jeanne-Claude passed away last November, but Christo pushes on. “She just has a chemistry with people that I don’t have,” Christo told the Wall Street Journal, referring to her in present tense as he has continued to do.

Check out the proposed plans for Over the River below, and let us know whose side you’re on.

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Collage using pencil, enamel paint and wax crayon by Christo, photo by Wolfgang Volz for Over The River.

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Drawing by Christo. Photo by Wolfgang Volz

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Drawing by Christo. Aerial photo by Wolfgang Volz