Christo’s ‘Over the River’: An Act of Homage

Christo: Over The River, Project For The Arkansas River, State of Colorado

Jubilation is the dominant mood when- and wherever a Christo/Jeanne-Claude project is realized. I have witnessed it time and again—32 years ago, in Loose Park, Kansas City, overlooking its Wrapped Walk Ways, every inch of the winding itinerary paved with bright clinquant stuff, of which Christo remarked: “When the sunlight falls on that nylon and sets it sparkling, it’s very beautiful.” He saw no need to boast about cheerful families bestriding the luster under their feet as if walking on air. Joy hailed the Surrounded Islands in Biscayne Bay, Miami, May 1983: eleven small isles, each in its private hug, embraced by the scandalous pink of buoyant industrial fabric. Or, more recently in Central Park, Manhattan (2005): abundance of Gates, waving their saffron scarves, 7,503 of them, erected to host processions of walkers, whose glee reminded ambulant seniors of the smiles that lit up this same city on V-E Day, 1945—except that the present fête needed no losing side.

This Is a Test

A Virgin Mary earnestly spanking her son is hard to imagine and theologically absurd, somewhat like Santa Claus engaging in child abuse, or Uncle Sam desecrating the flag. Since Jesus cannot have misbehaved, and Mary cannot chastise unjustly, a picture of the subject, especially one over-life-size, pretending to real presence, …

Shrinking Michelangelo

Francesca di Neri di Miniato del Sera died when the second of her five sons was not quite seven years old. It is the thesis of Dr. Liebert’s book—the most ambitious attempt yet made to psychoanalyze a long-dead artist—that her desertion of the young Michelangelo determined forever the artist’s character …