Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Remembering the Running Fence

The Fence now running through Smithsonian American Art Museum

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Smithsonian American Art Museum

    It is magnificent at 18 feet high, almost 25 miles long and draped in an undulating white nylon that captured the winds. 

    Christo is a force of nature, and the running fence he and his wife Jeanne-Claude created in northern California in the mid 1970s is a monument to their combined genius. 

    Christo is in town this week to talk about his brief creation as the Smithsonian American Art Museum opens a new exhibit entitled "Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Remembering the Running Fence."

    This "art" they created running across the vast ranchlands of northern California was a testament to their tenacity.   And while the actual fence is breathtaking, the bureaucratic obstacles created just as much drama.  This became operatic as the struggles became more intense and emotionallly charged. 

    They had to convince the state, the feds and 57 ranchers that this was not going to destroy the land but enhance our view of it.

    The Maysles brothers documented it all in their 1978 film "The Running Fence."   The museum is presenting a series of films by the Maysles brothers about Christo and Jeanne-Claude's various other "environmental"  art projects.    The series begins with "Running Fence" at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the McEvoy Auditorium of the museum.   It's free.

    The exhibit "Remembering The Running Fence"  has beautiful 25-foot projected images of the project.   Galleries showing how this went from one of Christo's sketches to an engineering feat that could withstand the Pacific winds and remain upright and fabulous for the two weeks that the "fence" came to life on the California landscape.  

    It is a marvelous thing to behold.   We will never be able to see it.  Such is the nature of Christo's art.  But we can see how wonderful it was.