Christo Ditches Colorado River Artwork in Protest of Trump

He's invested over $15 million of his own money into the idea.

Christo is taking a stand against Donald Trump. Photo: PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images.

After more than 20 years of planning, the landscape artist Christo announced the suspension of his proposed artwork “Over the River” in protest of Donald Trump.

Conceived by the Bulgarian-born artist and his late wife Jeanne-Claude, the project sought to suspend a silver canopy over a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas river for two weeks. After investing over $15 million of his own money into the research and development of the characteristically ambitious artwork, Christo ditched the plans over a refusal to enter a dialogue with the federal government and its head, Donald Trump—a requirement to gain approval for the project.

Christo abandoned the $50 million project whilst awaiting the decision of a federal appeals court amid a legal battle brought against him by a group of Coloradan environmentalists. They opposed the project because of wildlife endangerment concerns, as well as worries that increased traffic could compromise the area surrounding the site of the artwork at Bighorn Sheep Canyon.

Christo The River (Project) (Drawing 2010). Photo: Christo and Jean-Claude.

Christo. The River (Project) (Drawing 2010). Photo: Christo and Jean-Claude.

Speaking to the New York Times on Tuesday, the artist insisted he would not proceed with the project, even if the court rules in his favor. “I came from a communist country,” Christo began. “I use my own money and my own work and my own plans because I like to be totally free. And here now, the federal government is our landlord. They own the land. I can’t do a project that benefits this landlord.”

Clarifying his stance, he added, “The decision speaks for itself. My decision was that, like many others, I never believed that Trump would be elected.”

Christo The River (Project) (Drawing 1992). Photo: Christo and Jean-Claude.

Christo. The River (Project) (Drawing 1992). Photo: Christo and Jean-Claude.

And so Christo’s largest and most ambitious project in America, based on an idea that has been germinating since 1985, has come to an abrupt halt, only months after the 81-year-old artist was lauded for his stunning “Floating Piers” on Lake Iseo in Italy, which attracted over 1.2 million visitors.

“I am not excited about the project anymore,” he concluded. “Why should I spend more money on something I don’t want to do?”

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