Art on the Arkansas River

Posted January 26, 2006 by Robyn Suddeth

I’m not what one would call an artist, nor do I know very much about art in general. I sometimes find it hard to understand the complexity imbedded in a solid line painted next to a circle. So when I first heard about an artist’s plans to cover a major stretch of the Arkansas River with flowing fabric, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of the expensive project.

The project is called “Over the River,” and is being proposed by Christo for completion sometime in 2007. Christo and Jean-Claude are well-known for their massive art projects that work to either highlight or change large features of the natural landscape and/or societal infrastructure. In this case, the luminous fabric is supposed to emulate flowing water from above, while highlighting features of the sky and mountains when looked at from river level.

While I do think the view from under the fabric may be beautiful at times, I honestly don’t really yet understand the insight or commentary that the artists are attempting to convey. Perhaps there is none. But if that’s the case, then why spend all that money? (I’m open to explanations.) Check it out for yourself:

Any thoughts?
Either way, a massive art project is scheduled to cover one of the most popularly-rafted stretches of river in the United States in the summer of 2007. And despite my upturned nose, I’ll probably go and check it out. When else will I get to raft under a man-made canopy of shade in the middle of summer?


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