Today's sudden death of Jeanne-Claude -- wife of fellow artist Christo, and his principal collaborator -- prompted expressions of condolence from a range of Colorado officials, including Governor Bill Ritter, Senator Gail Schwartz and Denver mayor John Hickenlooper. The reason (other than that they thought it'd be a nice thing to do): Her passing immediately calls into question the future of "Over the River," a massive, $50 million project that imagines six miles of silver fabric draped over the Arkansas River between Canon City and Salida.
The statement attributed to Ritter says Christo is dedicated to completing this work despite Jeanne-Claude's death, but actually making it happen would have been a challenge even if she'd remained in perfect health. For more, check out blogs by Alan Prendergast here and here -- and look below for what Ritter, Schwatz and Hickenlooper had to say:
GOV. RITTER, SEN. SCHWARTZ STATEMENTS ON DEATH OF JEANNE-CLAUDE
Gov. Bill Ritter and state Sen. Gail Schwartz issued the following statements today about the death of acclaimed artist Jeanne-Claude, who most recently was working with her husband, Christo, on the "Over the River" project in Colorado's Arkansas Valley:
"I'm saddened by the news about the passing of Jeanne-Claude. She was a wonderful woman and a gifted artist, and I extend my deepest condolences to her husband Christo and their family," Gov. Ritter said. "Colorado has been incredibly fortunate to know Jeanne-Claude and Christo, first through their work on the Valley Curtain in the early 1970s. Recently, we have worked together on the proposed temporary work of art 'Over The River' in the Arkansas River Valley. Christo has said he is dedicated to completing this project, as Jeanne-Claude would have wished, and we look forward to continuing our work with him to bring their vision to reality."
"Jeanne-Claude and Christo have made a global contribution with their art and we have been fortunate in Western Colorado to be a recipient of one of their earlier projects with the draping of Rifle Gap," state Sen. Gail Schwartz said. "Most recently they have traveled the state presenting a concept of the 'Over the River' project for the Upper Arkansas. Together, they have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to community outreach as they developed the project concept and submit it for review. Their dedication to their art is admirable, and the scale of collaboration required for each work has been truly magnificent. The passing of Jeanne-Claude is a deep loss and we extend our sincere condolences to Christo and their family."
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Mayor Hickenlooper statement about Jeanne-Claude's death
DENVER, CO -- THURSDAY, Nov. 19, 2009 -- Mayor John Hickenlooper today released this statement about the death of Jeanne-Claude, the artist who collaborated with her husband, Christo, on large-scale public art. In Colorado, the couple was working on "Over The River, Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado."
"Jeanne-Claude was a giant in the art universe. Her legacy is immense. She and her husband shared art with the world for more than four decades and were creating a project in Colorado that would be talked about for generations. Their work was more than a joy to experience. It also brought international attention and economic benefit to each host city. We are deeply saddened by Jeanne-Claude's untimely death."