a tale of a few cities

Christo, Over the River

Christo, moments after I asked whether anybody had ever called him the first wrap artist. Tate Britain, 14.09.2011

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Christo, Over the River (Project for Arkansas River, State of Colorado), Drawing 2010 in two parts, 15 x 96″ and 42 x 96″ (38 x 244 cm and 106.6 x 244 cm), Pencil, pastel, charcoal, wax crayon, enamel paint, wash, fabric sample, hand-drawn topographic map and technical data (Photo: André Grossmann) © 2010 Christo

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Federal regulators on Monday approved a $50 million installation of anchored fabric over the Arkansas River in southern Colorado by the artist Christo, whose larger-than-life vision has divided environmentalists, residents and politicians for years over questions of aesthetics, nature and economic impact.

The project, “Over the River,” will include eight suspended panel segments totaling 5.9 miles along a 42-mile stretch of the river, about three hours southwest of Denver. Construction could begin next year, pending final local approvals, with the goal being a two-week display of the work as early as August 2014.

Christo’s projects — from the wrapping of the Reichstag Parliament building in Berlin in 1995 to “The Gates,” a meandering path of orange awnings through Central Park in New York in 2005 — have often generated heated debate in advance of their creation.

“We are elated,” Christo said. “Every artist in the world likes his or her work to make people think. Imagine how many people were thinking, how many professionals were thinking and writing in preparing that environmental impact statement.” [NYTimes]

This past September, Christo gave a rare talk in London about two works in progress, Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado and The Mastaba, Project for the United Arab Emirates. He talked about the concepts behind these two artworks, and the significant process of production and realisation when working on large-scale environmental artworks. I was lucky enough to be sitting in the 2nd row center, it just so happened that he sat directly in front of me narrating while slides of his projects were projected on stage. He spoke much about the Over the River project but I was most intrigued by The Mastaba project (a monumental artwork, set in the Abu Dhabi desert, to be made of approximately 410,000 horizontally stacked oil barrels). I had always thought The Mastaba had been abandoned so was delighted to hear that it is an artwork still in preparatory stages.

During question time I asked how one might volunteer to work on one of his projects (48:55). He immediately pointed out that everybody working on his projects is paid since you could not fire volunteers. Jeanne-Claude (his now deceased wife), made sure that laboring help was paid 25% above minimum wage. I was amazed at Christo’s energy and level of enthusiasm, being that he is 76 years old.

Artist’s Talk: Christo, Tate Britain, Wednesday 14 September 2011
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Christo talk @ Tate Britain

Posted in Art, artists, Collage, Conceptual Art, environmental art, London, Sculpture, Work on Paper by petercombe on August 17, 2011

Christo, The Mastaba in comparison to the Great Pyramid of Giza (Pyramid of Cheops), Egypt

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I’ve booked my ticket to see Christo talk at Tate Britain. Secretly, I’d love a months long gig working on the team with Christo.

New York-based environmental artist Christo gives a rare talk in London about two works in progress, Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado and The Mastaba, Project for the United Arab Emirates. Christo is renowned for his often controversial public artworks carried out with his late partner Jeanne-Claude. These include the monumental wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont Neuf in Paris, the 24-mile long Running Fence in California, and most recently, The Gates in New York City’s Central Park.

For Over the River, initially conceptualised in 1992, Christo plans to suspend nearly six miles of silvery, luminous fabric panels high above the Arkansas River, along a 42-mile stretch between Salida and Cañon City in south-central Colorado.

The Mastaba has been in development from 1977. This monumental artwork, set in the Abu Dhabi desert, will be made of approximately 410,000 horizontally stacked oil barrels.

In this lecture Christo, who has generously contributed his time, will talk about the concepts behind these two artworks, and the significant process of production and realisation when working on large-scale environmental artworks.

Wednesday 14 September 2011, 18.30–20.00
Tate Britain  Auditorium
£12 (£9 concessions), booking recommended
For tickets book online
or call 020 7887 8888.

Liberate Tate

Posted in guerilla art, London, protests by petercombe on April 21, 2011

On Wednesday, April 2oth, artists from art activist group Liberate Tate staged a performance in Tate Britain on the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion that spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days.

A naked member of the group had an oil-like substance poured over him and lay in a fetal position on the floor in the middle of the exhibition entitled Single Form. Dedicated to the human body, Single Form is one of a series of ‘BP British Art Displays’ staged throughout the galleries of Tate Britain.
The guerilla performance lasted 87 minutes— one for every day oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

Fiona Banner, Harrier and Jaguar

Posted in Art, Installation, Sculpture by petercombe on July 1, 2010

Fiona Banner
Harrier and Jaguar 2010 (Harrier detail, front and back views)
© Fiona Banner, Photo: Tate

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Fiona Banner
Harrier and Jaguar 2010 (Harrier detail, front and back views)
© Fiona Banner, Photo: Tate

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Roger Hiorns

Posted in Art by petercombe on October 15, 2009

I can’t get enough of this spectacular work by Roger Hiorns. He is one of the shortlisted artists for the Turner Prize, 2009. Click the link below for more info on this most original artist.

Hiorns creates arresting sculpture and installation combining unusual materials. His exploration of chemical processes took spectacular effect in Seizure, in which a derelict flat in South London was filled with liquid copper sulphate, which after a period of time encrusted every surface of the space with blue crystals.

roger hiorns

Roger Hiorns>

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