“Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects do not originate because they are wanted politically; they exist because they are negotiated in a political system. They exist because two people have the intention...
“Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects do not originate because they are wanted politically; they exist because they are negotiated in a political system. They exist because two people have the intention and passion to make possible realities of these ‘impossible dreams.’ When Christo and Jeanne-Claude talk about the problems, the hurdles, the disputes, the tough negotiations with politicians, lawyers, land owners, engineers and bankers, they do it with happiness, with a smile on their lips, which leaves outsiders confused. All this is not merely a means to an end for Christo and Jeanne-Claude, it is an integral part of their projects.” Matthias Koddenberg ‘Impossible dreams or possible realities? Thoughts on Christo and Jeanne-Claude’ in Christo and Jeanne-Claude 40 Years 12 Exhibitions, exhib. cat. Annely Juda Fine Art, London 2011 p.174
Over the River became one such ‘impossible dream’. The couple’s vision for Over The River was conceived in 1992 and included 9.5 km of silvery, luminous fabric panels to be suspended clear of and high above the water in eight distinct areas along a 67.6-kilometer stretch of the Arkansas River between Cañon City and Salida in south-central Colorado.
They received all federal, state and local permits necessary to realize Over The River in 2011, when the US Department of the Interior announced its Record of Decision. This federal action was the final step of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is usually reserved for major infrastructures such as bridges, highways, dams and airports. The EIS for Over The River, the first ever completed for a work of art, began in the spring of 2009.
By 2012, a local group opposed to the temporary work of art filed lawsuits against Colorado State Parks in State Court and against the United States Federal Government, Bureau of Land Management, in U.S. Federal Court. In January 2017, after pursuing Over The River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado for 20 years and going through five years of legal arguments, Christo decided not to wait any longer for the outcome and instead devoted his energy, time and resources into the realisation of The Mastaba, Project for United Arab Emirates.