Letter from Joseph F. Pennock
Over the River project – August 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine
Christo the carpetbagger should go drape himself
When Northerners went south after the Civil War and exploited the poor residents, they were called carpetbaggers. When venders of worthless potions traveled the countryside selling their bogus wares, they were labeled quacks. When a person commits cheap practical jokes or otherwise deceives seemingly willing victims, he’s known as a buffoon.
It takes a large degree of audacity to dupe the gullible populace into believing art is anything done with a flourish, or on a large scale. It’s exactly the same idea that so many singers and bands have: If we can’t be good, at least we can be loud.
Christo, this “savior” of otherwise drab panoramas, feels the need to exhibit his ephemeral works with an in-your-face panache. To refer to him as an “environmental” artist is an insult to the integrity of the vegetation and wildlife living in the areas victimized by his unbridled ego. It is natural that the world’s artistic intelligentsia swarm like carrion flies to pay homage to this fetishist of fabric.
Here’s hoping that the Bureau of Land Management and other property owners along the Arkansas River will take the wind out of Christo’s sails and deny him and his entourage permission to erect his eyesores. Artist, drape thyself!
Joseph F. Pennock