Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism. Become a Member »

Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Floating Piers” (2014–16), Lake Iseo, Italy (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic unless otherwise noted)

SULZANO, Italy — I decided to make the journey from my home in Rome to Sulzano in northern Italy to judge the merits and pitfalls of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Floating Piers” — an almost two-mile long floating walkway situated on Lake Iseo — for myself. I aimed to test Christo’s assertion that his work is purely aesthetic: “This work, all of our works, Jean Claude and myself, we do it for ourselves, they’re totally unnecessary, they don’t serve for anything except to be a work of art, and like all of our works they need to be lived […] you need to physically go through [it].” While consistent with Christo’s general attitude toward his work, given the logistical challenges of “Floating Piers” — which consists of three floating bridges made of 220,000 polyethylene cubes covered in 1,076,391 square feet of orange-yellow fabric — it’s hard to see how aesthetic values can be separated from social and economic concerns. This is one of the basic arguments of modernist aesthetics. In his Critique of Judgment, Immanuel Kant asserts that one can only have a purely aesthetic experience if it is free of any judgment regarding the goodness or usefulness of a given object or phenomenon. As such, large-scale public or private expenditure — whether perceived as worthwhile or not — will arguably always impede an artwork from being a purely aesthetic experience, so long as large amounts of money change hands and there are vested interests in the success of a project.

“Floating Piers” cost a considerable amount — 15 million euros — which led the Italian consumer rights group Codacons to claim it would file a complaint to the Court of Accounts in the Lombardy region, demanding that the expense of the project to the taxpayer be made public. Codacons have cited disruption to trains and the costs of policing and cleanup as among causes for concern.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Floating Piers” (2014–16), Lake Iseo, Italy

While Christo claims he self-funded the artistic production of the project, the Beretta family, who manufacture small armaments on a huge, international scale, gave some logistical assistance, and donated the use of their private island of San Paolo, which marks the ultimate destination for visitors to the “Floating Piers.” On June 18, the day the walkway opened to the public, Beretta posted on its Facebook page: “A small island, belonging to the Beretta family, plays a leading role in an art installation. Next time someone tells you guns don’t make art …” The post itself is undoubtedly in bad taste, but it was only under the blazing heat of the Italian summer, when I reached the villa of San Paolo, that the perversity of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s gesture sank in.

(screenshot by the author for Hyperallergic)

But first, when I arrived at Brescia train station, I found my connection to Sulzano — which has a population of just 1,956 people — had been temporarily suspended due to tourist overcrowding. As a result, I arrived one hour later than planned and faced a three to four-hour wait to access the piers. Ignoring Christo’s claim that the wait is part of the artistic experience, I skipped the line and entered through a security gate on the pretext that I was looking for the press office, something that in reality I had no intention of doing.

The floating structure of the work, which causes the floor to dip slightly under each footstep, made it harder to walk than on a normal pavement or footbridge. All in all, there was a strong element of endurance to the experience, partly because of the crowds at various junctures along the piers’ route, from Sulzano, to Monte Isola, to the Isola San Paolo, and partly because of the punishing heat. I couldn’t help feeling that seeing the lake from the piers was much harder and more uncomfortable than seeing it from the lake’s shore, which I later had hours to do peacefully from my nearby campsite — an experience which I took beyond doubt to be purely aesthetic and which was entirely hassle- and cost-free.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Floating Piers” (2014–16), Lake Iseo, Italy

When I finally reached the villa of San Paolo — to which all roads led for thousands of visitors that day — it was closed. I’m not sure what I expected — free lemonade upon arrival? Water? A thank you for one’s efforts? In any case, there was no such luck.

It is undeniable that “Floating Piers” has tapped into the public imagination, drawing 270,000 visitors within the first three days of opening and over 500,000 to date. But if we are to take the work as a purely artistic statement (and a very popular one), it is nonetheless one that connects the private villa of an arms manufacturer to the mainland, drawing the parched masses to the Beretta family’s closed doors. I came, I saw, and I left feeling that a beautiful lake had been mired by a large-scale reinforcement of the social fabric: a paean to neo-feudalism, no less.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Floating Piers” (2014–16), Lake Iseo, Italy (photo by Wolfgang Volz, © 2016 Christo)

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Floating Piers” (2014–16), the fabric-covered streets of Sulzano (photo by Wolfgang Volz, © 2016 Christo)

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Floating Piers” continue on Lake Iseo, Italy, through July 3. 

Mike Watson

Mike Watson is an art theorist, critic, and curator based in Italy who is principally focused on the relation between art and politics. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from Goldsmiths College and has curated for Nomas Foundation and at both the...

74 replies on “Shooting Down the Purely Aesthetic Aspirations of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Piers”

  1. i was so initially mesmerized by the floating piers that i flew in, 1500 km away, just to see the installation. i ended up witnessing a bit of a disaster, considering the enormous crowds that blocked every single aspect of the trip. in the end i did not even enter the piers them self, i was totally satisfied looking at them from an elevation in Sulzano. the impact the installation made in the picturesque setting of lake iseo, was astonishing (minus the crowds)! i don’t see why would the villa on the island of San Paolo, need to be accessible to the public. it’s meaning had nothing to do with the installation it self?! the island was, just like the whole lake, purely visually interpreted in a new way… considering the complaint about the additional costs of the project, i don’t thing there is anything wrong with the official services doing there job. a service is responsible for maintaining order in every day activities, as well as in mass events, like this one…

    1. ‘… i don’t thing there is anything wrong with the official services doing there job…’ doing their job indeed!

      .

      1. YES! THINK! This place has budgeted an amount of money for order and to keep its town clean. This is a small town. Do you think paying for thousands upon thousands of people is part of that budget? NO! Do you think Christo arranged for this kind of mob? Not if his past art extravaganzas are the rule. This artist is about his own narsicissm.
        It’s such a waste!

    2. These huge installations were popular before in history. An example would be the Roaring 20’s. It’s a show of MONEY. I don’t care what people say. Money that could be used to help the sick and poor. It’s ostentatious, it is kitsch, it’s a huge waste of resources that is thrown right in your face. Its a show of power. It’s offensive.

      1. your comment is offensive. if you don’t like it just look away. and if you feel so strongly about the sick and poor in the word (which is of course, commendable) do something yourself about it, don’t expect it from others.

        1. Why are you offended? Are you guilty? There is a line to be drawn. Millions and millions for a temporary exhibit such as this is wasteful when so many are forced to leave their homes by these military arms wealthy who continue to sell to both sides. Do you really have a thought about what is humane and what isn’t. I doubt it. You don’t even use your real name. Disgusting !!!!

  2. There’s a good deal of whining in this piece. The Beretta family connection is disturbing, yes. But that deserves its own column: what “kinds” of money, what patrons, pay and always have paid for the art we see? I would love to have had the first-world problem of leaving my Roman house, a late connection in Brescia, a few extra people, a closed town, just to walk on this gorgeous artwork and see it for myself… and honor the visions and efforts of Christo and the engineers that made it possible.

  3. One gets the impression the writer would have had a positive review of the installation if there was no one there but himself. But since the installation brought the gawking crowds of art tourists, the installation is a “a paean to neo-feudalism”. Silly.
    And trying to tie the installation somehow to guns because of an island in the lake is more hand-wringing silliness.

  4. The original meaning of aesthetics is Greek. (No lecture). The antonym is “anaesthesia”. So aside from what we may wish to contrive aesthesia to be (beautiful, gorgeous, etc), it would seem that at the root, aesthesia is about sense and sensation. and not just the artist’s.

    I experienced “Gates” some years ago in Central Park, NYC-US. The experience was transformative and for many- abiding. There was a heightened sense about being in that space- a space that on any other day is still a space but something happened between the gates, the park, and the people that experienced it.

    And that is the issue. If you set out to “see” a Christo/Jean-Claude project, it seems to evade you.
    When Christo says aesthetics, I’m of the belief that he is speaking in that original sense of aesthetics. To “see” a Christo is to leave the rest of you behind, something we all have become too good at. Further, with Christo, what we came to see evades us because it’s more than sight only in his concepts as I understand it. Given that, it is quite natural to be indignant and to cast aspersions and assertions that tend to make us feel better about ourselves and to demean the object and/or person who caused our ire. We are not what we came to see.

    As to “money”. When do we realize that is only one of an assortment of measurements and that measurement in and of itself is woefully inaccurate in most cases to measure worth in any substantitive way.

  5. I’m glad to read a critical take on this piece — I happened to be in Switzerland last week and decided to make the trip over the border. We were there at dawn, but there weren’t enough buses to accommodate what was already a swelling crowd, and so we had to walk several miles to get to the lake. Not a big problem, but when we arrived there, the crowding was quite intense.
    It’s hard not to have mixed feelings about a piece that costs this much, that produces this much waste (despite all claims to the contrary), and that frankly works better as a drawing on paper. The experience of a landscape as beautiful as Lago di Iseo isn’t enhanced by sharing it with 80,000 other spectators thronging on an artificial orange walkway with helicopters circling above.
    Was there a joyous feeling, or was it one of those events so hyped on TV that everyone simply had to be there? Does it matter that the work borders on kitsch, if it gives art such a good name, furthers the common cause among ordinary people who wouldn’t otherwise bother to go to an exhibition of contemporary art?
    But there were far more disturbing undertones: the orange was reminiscent of Guantanamo, the procession of hot, exhausted people of the refugee crisis. I doubt these associations were deliberate. It was as though all the suffering currently taking place in the Mediterranean, all the lack of compassion for these people’s plight, all the bickering about who should take how many asylum seekers were being sublimated and reenacted on a mass scale, in a kind of perverse set piece. But perhaps I’m reading too much into it.
    To clarify: I come from the art field and go to great lengths to defend art’s right not to have an immediate practical purpose. But when I think of the achievements of artists like Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta-Clark, Christo’s work feels like Disney — at any rate a colossal indulgence, coming at a time when Europe has a lot of introspection to do.

    1. As you may know, Christo and Jean-Claude have used this orange in the past — before the color was associated with Guantanamo by the public, and well before ‘Orange is the New Black’.

  6. In my humble opinion, this installation appears to be trash bags littering a beautiful area. I wonder if they will be recycled when it is un-installed? It does not appear aesthetically pleasing or transformative from this view. Disappointing considering the other works of Christo~Jeanne Claude. What a waste, not impressed.

  7. What is this thing Christo has with cadmium yellow and why does he think is beautifies the environment? Yuck. I’ve never seen a Christo that I thought was the least bit aesthetically pleasing.

    1. And I never think a plastic road across a beautiful lake is anything but ugly. And even uglier when you think he has to dispose of it somewhere. You’re one of those people who don’t believe the earth is finite, that there is no global warming, that we can just ignore and pass down to the next generation this tragic mess without even trying to turn the tables.
      You really choose not to see anything. Your beauty is ugly!!! You rich stupid fool!

      1. Perhaps Christo will sell pieces of it, as, I believe, he has done in the past. I know that I own a piece from one of his works, I just don’t remember if it was given to me, or if I purchased it to support his on-going work. I certainly hope it was the latter.

          1. Sarcasm! You just don’t seem to be able to help yourself, do you?

            I’ve checked, and indeed he has either given away or sold pieces of dismantled installations.

            So “yeah. Of yellow plastic.”

            Is that difficult to comprehend?

      2. “I never think . . . “, and just how many plastic roads have you seen crossing a beautiful lake?

        And how can you possibly ascribe so much to jonhartz’s personality, saying,
        “You’re one of those . . . “. and closing with, “You rich stupid fool.”

  8. The fabric-covered street is the most interesting part of the work, and the least covered by the media. Odd, since it gives context to the causeways, which are sort of meaningless without it.

  9. The ‘spectacle’ has been a feature of much artwork for the past 30 years. This is generally met with admiration and few critics have drawn the obvious parallels between this kind of overt theatricality and fascism.

      1. Had the art been done for free, would be better art? Worse? The answer is: neither. I remember when I was young, my father, a man with an incomprehension of and lack of interest in art used to both praise and condemn Picasso’s work based on how much the market would pay for it. On the one hand, the invariable “Any five year old could do that” was declared at the same time as clucking in admiration, “That was sold for ten million dollars!” The one thing he was incapable of seeing was the art work. You seem to have the same inability, Mr. Porter, but your blindness if ideologically and politically based. My father was merely ignorant, while you appear to be deliberately blind. But let’s provide you with a simple reminder: Money does not indicate either artistic value or the lack of it. Experiencing the work itself, interpreting it for yourself, and the richness of that experience and interpretation determine its value. It is a shame you refuse to allow yourself to engage in the art itself, blocked from doing so by a sense of righteous indignation about something that the art in the artwork has nothing to do with. A whole lot of Rembrandt’s are “ugly” as you declare of Christo’s work in an earlier post, as are a whole lot of Goya’s, and they are far more expensive than this piece by Christo. I guess, for you, that makes them bad art as well?

    1. FASCISM, SMRASHISM!! You needn’t be so ‘au courant’. I think you will find the same grandiose expressions in ancient Egypt, with the Greek colossi, in the USSR, China’s Great Wall (though it was built for ‘defense’, it illustrates the same mind set), and so forth . . . In other words, as an expression of political power and social subjugation.

      Do you really see the same message in any of the Christo/Jean-Claude works? I certainly don’t.

      Let us not politicize everything in our lives. Sometimes a cigar is just a . . .

      1. Huge amounts of MONEY to build this
        “Temporary” installation. ‘au courant’ madam?
        That would be Christo. The way he raises huge amounts of money. Have you done your homework Ms Art Critic? I suggest that you do before I go on with fun little ‘Trieste.’ Do you need help with that? Just let me know.
        En chante Madam
        I’m sure.

  10. This is just total nonsense, you can just as easily paraphrase Kant to condemn rice crispy’s cereal, Picasso, or maybe it’s like using random bible quotes to condemn Game of Thrones. it just undermines whatever point the author is trying to make. : “… it’s hard to see how aesthetic values can be separated from social and economic concerns. This is one of the basic arguments of modernist aesthetics. In his Critique of Judgment, Immanuel Kant asserts that one can only have a purely aesthetic experience if it is free of any judgment regarding the goodness or usefulness of a given object or phenomenon. As such, large-scale public or private expenditure — whether perceived as worthwhile or not — will arguably always impede an artwork from being a purely aesthetic experience, so long as large amounts of money change hands and there are vested interests in the success of a project.”

  11. Could Kant, maybe, have been wrong? And the fact is that all meaning is created by experienced context with other human beings. And that even this op ed is describing a context for this piece? And that that context doesn’t take away from the piece, but actually uncovers a layer of meaning… How far are any of us from being funded by the arms industry? None of us is very far, by the way. We like to think we are. But that’s all willful ignorance on our part (I will illustrate: The very medium you are reading this post with is a medium publicly funded to better ensure the destruction of all humanity.).

        1. YES!! My point exactly! A lot more awareness from a great many more humans who have agendas that lack any thinking about the future. Quarterly profits are all we know. For some it’s will I eat tomorrow?. So daunting. But if we are to continue as a species to exist on this planet something has to give. It won’t be Mother Nature she’s always stuck around. It’s us humans that will be extinguished. Maybe that is what needs to happen. I believe it’s come close before in our history; more often than we,even yet,have proof of. We are pigs. We always kill ourselves with our own shit. Now it’s on a Global Scale. I want to think we have gained enough smarts that we will see our demise before it’s too late. I hope I’m right.

          1. I seriously doubt that quarterly profits are what motivates Christo. That seems to be your obsession, not his. Sorry, but you can’t legitimately dump the entire world’s problems onto an artist or a work of art. If you could, the museums would be entirely empty.

    1. I’m not sure I would agree with your statement in parentheses, but the rest of your comment shows an understanding of such depths as few commenting here show any awareness, or appear to be willing to explore. Self-interest and gut-response seems to prevail in most folks thinking.

        1. I’m just not sure about “the destruction of all humanity”. This fear has been expressed frequently throughout history. But who knows, perhaps you are right.

          1. Well, it refers to the fact that the Internet is the offspring of Arpanet… a system designed to ensure Mutually Assured Destruction or, in other words, the “destruction of all humanity.” I am not saying that what we are doing now will lead us to this end, just that the medium we are using is also one created by weaponry. We are all tainted. It’s just the state of being human. I think Kant is wrong.

          2. Thank you. I knew that when I was teaching at MIT, many years ago, but I had completely forgotten it.

          3. I understand, but Mutually Assured Destruction was/is a plan to do exactly that. The strategy of the United States remains: If you attack us with nuclear weapons we will wipe you off the map. The Russians remain in that posture toward the US, as well. It’s just the way things are…

          4. Yes, and that is likely how it would play out. But thankfully the ‘guarantee’ is what has held us each at bay.

            The most immediate problem lies with others who either have, or will soon have ‘the bomb’. Where human life seems less valued, dare we trust humane behaviour?

    1. I agree. What a waste. I’m artist and I find that kind of high priced narcissism ugly and vain. This piece looks ugly and vain. Maybe Christo likes that. How much did the Emperors New Clothes cost?

      1. Yet a lot of people just love the stuff. He had some sheets hanging all over Central Park in New York — it looked like advertising, but for nothing — and I kept hearing about how wonderful it was. I suppose the money is no object since according to Christo it mysteriously pays for itself, so the only cost is the visual tedium and having to listen to people talking about it.

        I’ll bet a crew of graffiti writers could improve it a good deal.

        1. Graffiti improves many pieces of art and architecture. In the Romen Days it was encouraged. Now it’s s crime. It’s all backwards. I think Christo should do a big room of mirrors with him in the middle. That would have the most integrity of any piece of work he’s done so far. LOL

      2. And what art is not tinged with vanity? “The Emperor’s New Clothes”? why even which shirt one chooses to wear, or which pair of shoes for which occassion, is also tinged with vanity. ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’

        1. There is vanity and there is VANITY$$$
          I used the Roaring 20s as an analogy because of the obscene waste of the rich in that era. That seems to be what we are encouraging today. While the space between the rich and poor grows and the middle class shrinks. Greed is an accepted way of life as we ignore the increasing homelessness of the world. Once this hits a turning point there is worldwide bloodshed aimed at the rich but the tole is always on the the poor and middle class. Ignorance or deliberately ignoring history is always the key. I am a constant student of World History and Art History. Our next War to end all Wars might be the one that ends our reign on earth. I think a responsible artist has to have integrity of thought and process. I don’t think you agree.

          1. Ah, but I do agree.

            “. . . a responsible artist has to have integrity of thought and process.”

            However, this rather well put dictum does not address the issue of MONEY, unless you would lump money in with integrity of process — with which I would not agree. I wouldn’t know where to draw the line. For me $1000.00 would be a lot, for someone else it would be chicken feed. In either case it would buy a lot of chickens through Heifer International (where I do spend money buying chickens for families in need).

  12. 15 Million Euros? For that kind of money, I expect a piece that makes everyone from the hoi polloi to the upper gentry reconsider everything, like reconsider who and what they are. Christo is an icon,no doubt – but the thing leaves me empty.

    1. The point is quite clear. I’m surprised that you don’t get it. As a student of art history, are you not aware of Jean-Claude’s
      efforts when she was still with us?

      1. Of course I know she was a foil for Christo. And I believe acted as his conscience. He said again and again that he not only misses her but misses her critical judgment.
        I don’t think she would have liked the fact that he took so much money from the war monger. It just doesn’t sit right. It’s a different world today with the internet it’s hard to hide. He needs to be a lot more selective about where his funds come from. I am also a student of economics and current affairs. It matters where the money comes from for these huge projects. It matters how they effect the environment on our planet. We no longer have the luxury of looking the other way. It effects too many issues. There are many artists that take this into consideration if they care. I care. I want there to be an earth for my grandchild and for all the grandchildren today. If it doesn’t start soon it will be too late. Hell, capitalism itself must change if we’re going to stick around. Peoples minds have to change. I am still hopeful. The alternative is dreary.

        Okay I’m done. Make all the remarks you like now. I’ll read them. But I’ve done my grandstanding. If even a few people listened it helps. I won’t reply again.
        WE HAVE A WHOLE PARADIGM TO CHANGE. IT HAS TO HAPPEN!

        tabor

        1. Dear Tabor,

          At last I feel your pain and your deep sincerity.

          And if you will accept it, I even agree heartily with much of what you say.

          Still, I am disturbed
          1.by your un-substantiated assumptions, especially about people and their motives
          2. sometimes by your logic — mixing apples with oranges
          3. by much of your rhetoric
          but mostly
          4. by the manner in which your pain is expressed through anger, showing itself in unbecoming language.

          I will not challenge your latest ill-founded assertions, but, rather, wish you well in your endeavors.

          m

  13. I like it from afar, almost as much as I liked walking through the gates in Central Park.
    Orange doesn’t remind me of Guantanamo or buddhist monks, just is.
    And guns are just as relevant to art as Nobel dynamite is to peace.
    Deal with it!

  14. Jon, I’m pretty sure that the preparation and administration are part of this artwork as much as Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s others.

    If that side is getting less attention this time, I suspect it’s because that side was Jeanne-Claude’s domain and she’s no longer here to talk about it. And currently there doesn’t seem to be any single figure on Christo’s team to provide the media with a focus on that side.

    (I also think that journalists may be reluctant to ask Christo much about his late wife.)

  15. I usually expect more intellectual rigour from Hyperallergic. Surely there is a lot more to be said than ‘look arms manufacturers funded this”… Can anyone really believe that the work was intended as merely aesthetic given the multitude of analogies and metaphors implicit in the work and the very conspicuous socio-political context. Personally given the stature of Christo and the history of his practice, all elements in this work including the Berretta are completely intended. The fact that the author, completely omits that possibility from consideration, speaks clearly to a generation, which believes that what the artist says rather than does is completely the meaning of the work…sad

    1. So all the these so called meanings you suggest support the idea that Christo is an arrogant narsicist. He doesn’t care about the poor and disenfranchised. He only cares about the beauty of the present work. You know sunsets are more beautiful than they’ve ever been in the modern world. They are beautiful because of the enormous amount of pollution we’ve pumped into our atmosphere. Yet I wouldn’t pay millions to increase the effect. Would you? Do you suggest you’re more intellectual when you make such an analogy. Are we going to talk about our education now? I can do that. Are we going to talk about how much money we have and have the right to waste if we want to? Now that would be sophomoric. Don’t you agree? LOL

      1. DearTabor,

        I’ve read all of your comments thus far in this conversation, and your logic mostly evades me.

        Unless you know Christo personally, the attributes, attitudes, and so forth, that you burden him with seem terribly out of place. For all I know (and you too, I would suspect), Christo is a saint in his social behaviour towards the needy. I’ve never heard anything to the contrary. Do you have any evidence he is not?

  16. Dear Mike Watson,

    I find your purpose — ‘to judge the merits and pitfalls of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Floating Piers” ‘ — rather strange. Why would one wish to view something such as “Floating Piers” with the intention of judging it rather than merely to experience it?

    The Beretta post is indeed distasteful, but let us remember, the pier runs both to and from their little island. Perhaps the family will be able to look both ways regarding the weapons issue.

    Is there an ethical issue here that permits lying (which here entails theft as well — theft of other’s time and space)?: ‘I skipped the line and entered through a security gate on the pretext that I was looking for the press office, something that in reality I had no intention of doing.’ Are you proud of this?

    Finally, you say, ‘I couldn’t help feeling that seeing the lake from the piers was much harder and more uncomfortable than seeing it from the lake’s shore, which I later had hours to do peacefully from my nearby campsite — an experience which I took beyond doubt to be purely aesthetic and which was entirely hassle- and cost-free.’

    This raises additional comments. I have engaged with a number of works by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, but never have I assumed to know what they might expect of me (nothing, I would imagine). Why then do you comment (critically?) on the ease of viewing the lake from the shore over the pier?

    In closing, you say that the experience from your campsite was ‘an experience which I took beyond doubt to be purely aesthetic and which was entirely hassle- and cost-free.’

    ‘hastle-free’? — you don’t count the ‘hastle’ of getting there all the way from Rome?

    ‘cost-free’? — you don’t count the public expense, world wide, to clean up the very air we all breathe?

    p.s. The good news is that I read the ozone layer is beginning to repair itself. We can hope that this is in conjunction with the good efforts of the human commnity, and not the sole efforts of the Gaia — though I personally would be grateful even for that alone.

  17. The documentation was a way of raising money for the final project. They were not an integral part of the final pieces, the marketing of them notwithstanding. Architect’s (and in a very real way, Christo is an architect) preparatory drawings and contracts, etc., are not integral to the structures themselves, and such structures would fail as architecture if an appreciation of moving through them or looking at them was dependent on such documents.

  18. Says Christo “like all of our works they need to be lived […] you need to physically go through [it].” So what he’s proposing is quint/essentially an experience. And no experience is lived in a vacuum, let alone one actualised through a large-scale situated public art *intervention* purposely fashioned to physically engage a mass of people. This experience is shaped by the artists’ own choices, from go to whoa (or is that go to woe?). They chose Italy, with all its beauty and organisational chaos. They chose (or – more probably – chose not to impose) the conditions under which a given number of people would live out the experience they designed. On yeah and they chose to involve an arms manufacturer to get the thing, uhm, floating. So for me the writer’s lamentations are not marginal at all, they are actually (more than) legitimate. And speaking of artistic responsibility, what would Al Wei Wei make of all this, I wonder?

  19. There is no insight into “why” this was created….and if there was some insight offered by the artist, the FACT that an arms manufacturer “supported” the artist is insanity on the part of the artist…………some artists should just retire when they reach a certain mental implosion.

  20. I am always amazed that the first and foremost protest to Christo’s “work” is NOT his complete disregard for the local flora, fauna and wildlife that he undoubtedly decimates. Use your money to build a fake environment so you can look at your pretty colors without harming any innocent creatures. Just stop it.

Comments are closed.