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Christo's Valley Curtain (1974)

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Title: Christo's Valley Curtain (1974)

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christo | independent film | See All (2) »

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Documentary | Short

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10 March 1974 (USA)  »

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The largest man-made curtain in the world as "sculpture"
10 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Short and to-the-point documentary covering Christo's first large public work - the bright neon-orange valley curtain in Colorado, which spanned the gulf between two small mountains. It was a temporary and "public" exhibition, more performance art than a real "artifact" style sculpture. When the camera finally shows it in all its glory, an orange triangle on the landscape, you really grasp the audacity and almost brave rudeness of Christo's vision.

Christo should be considered more a pop artist akin to Warhol, repackaging things to make us rethink how we perceive them as objects. (Warhol's Brillo boxes prefigure Christo's early works of wrapped-up boxes, before he went to the landscape scale.) As with most Maysles Bros. films, this one keeps an objective stance and lets the events - the vast majority of which have to do with the actual engineering and erection of the thing - unfold.

Very little talk is devoted to whether it's "art" or worthwhile. The film documents the construction, and we're drawn in by whether or not the cable that is pulling it across will get tangled, or if it'll unfurl evenly across the expanse. It is a very compelling half-hour.

But in the process as you watch, you get the idea of the vision of the project/object, and that it is redefining what we think of as sculpture in the process. A great simple film, that would pave the way for the Maysles other docs on Christo, and since its shorter, it is more humble and more compelling than the others that spend more time talking about what's happening.


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