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Monday, 05 January 2015 16:08

Judge Okays Christo’s Arkansas River Project

A plan by internationally-renowned artist Christo to hang miles of fabric over the Arkansas River is moving forward.

United States District Judge William Martinez ruled Friday that the Bureau of Land Management did not violate federal law in its November 2011 approval of the artist's Over The River project.

Opposition group Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR) claimed that the BLM's decision violated the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

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Known for his massive environmental works of art that interact with the natural landscape, the Bulgarian artist, Christo (b. 1935), has been ordered by a federal judge to halt the installation of his latest project until a lawsuit involving the work reaches a conclusion.

Created by Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude (they worked collaboratively under the moniker Christo), Over the River involves hanging long stretches of translucent fabric for two weeks above various parts of the Arkansas River in Colorado. Girded by steel cables that will be anchored on either bank, the project will consume almost seven miles of the river.

The environmentalist group Rags Over the Arkansas River Inc. (ROAR) brought the lawsuit against Christo as they fear the project will affect local fisheries and natural habitats and disturb the locals. Although the Bureau of Land Management approved the project in 2011, Christo will serve as a co-defendant alongside the Bureau in order to uphold his and Jeanne-Claude’s vision.

The couple’s iconic body of work includes The Gates, which was installed in New York City’s Central Park in 2005, and Running Fence, a 24 mile-long artwork that ran through California’s Sonoma and Marin counties in 1976. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects often stirred up controversy based on their sheer scale, but it is also this otherworldliness that makes them visually unforgettable.

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