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Montgomery Fellow Christo

Environmental artist Christo speaks at Dartmouth on February 8. With his late wife Jeanne-Claude, Christo is well-known for conceiving and carrying out monumental projects such as the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin; the 24-mile Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin Counties in California; and The Gates in New York City’s Central Park. Christo’s Montgomery Lecture will address two works-in-progress, Over the River: Project for the Arkansas River, Colorado; and The Mastaba: Project for the United Arab Emirates.

ChristoChristo (AP Photo—Keystone, Karl Mathis)

Speaking to the future: Connecting with student-filled audiences like Dartmouth’s matters. “We have always spoken with young people,” Christo says. “As Jeanne-Claude always said, ‘They will survive us.’ It is important for them to hear about our work directly from our mouths,” unmediated by critics and art historians.

Permits and collaboration: With many projects underway at all times, the progress that the artists’ team makes through various permitting processes shapes both when and how Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s art is made. The permitting process is part of the creation, he suggests; the development of the work of art continues up through the point where the approval to make it is gained. Questions about possession are a constant: “Everything belongs; who has ownership of that place?” he says.

Grand scale: Because of its scale, “Our work is not like making art, but more like architecture, or urban planning, or building a highway,” Christo says. The scope of the artists’ intellectual engagement is large as well: every project calls for “cultural immersion” on his part, and “more and more in-depth knowledge” about the place where the work is to be made.

Montgomery Fellow Lecture: “Two Works in Progress: Over the River, Project for the Arkansas River, Colorado; The Mastaba, Project for the United Arab Emirates” • Monday, February 8, at 4:30 p.m. • Tuck School, Cook Auditorium • 646-4062

Interview by KELLY SUNDBERG SEAMAN

Last Updated: 2/1/10