I viewed the video Running Fence. It reveals the process of creation one of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s artworks under the same name.
The film tells about the process of gaining permits to carry out the project. The video also highlights negative attitude of people living in the neighborhood who oppose the project. Many people do not understand the idea of such art, and even after the permits are received Christo and Jeanne-Claude faced opposition of local people. This work of art is aimed at making people see the beauty of the landscape. It is possible to say that the artists literally underlined what they wanted people to see – the beauty of the land.
There is not much of a protest to something in the work, so I would not call the project made by artists as activists. Christo and Jeanne-Claude have only emphasized natural beauty and have carried out a monumental artistic project. The video reveals that the work was really monumental since it comprised the work of so many people and persistence and courage of the artists (Maysles et al.).
However, their Fences can be compared to the environmental art of Mierle Ukeles who also does not invent anything but shows some important points which people see but do not notice. Mierle Ukeles project is different in form but it can be also called monumental. It does change the idea of three dimensional art. Apart from this her art bears strong social and environmental message.
It inspires people to take notice of their everyday life, their place in the world, and their impact on environment (Sayre 341). Her art also inspires to take action, to improve the world. In fact, these features characterize Ukeles’s projects as works of art which can be useful and practical. For instance, Ukeles’s Flow City can be regarded as a valuable source of knowledge and experience.
Viewers could see what they really do throw away, how they impact on environment and also have the chance to see the beauty of nature. As far as Christo and Jeanne-Claude are concerned, it is difficult to find practical value of their Fence. In fact, many people failed to see such value (Maysles et al.). This work of art “energizes” the beauty of the landscape (Knight). It is also important to note that Christo pointed out that Fence was not the work of art, “altogetherness” including the fence and landscape was the work of art (Knight). Basically, there is powerful artistic value in the work – to underline the beauty of the nature.
As far as I am concerned, I must admit that Christo’s work made me rethink some conceptions of art. When I get acquainted with the Running Fence I realized that art can be a part of nature emphasizing its beauty. This work of art will not be placed in some tiny room of a collector, but will become a part of the landscape. Many people could see the landscape in the way the artists saw it.
To my mind, this is what is called the power of art which is infinite and beyond any boundaries or fences. Ukeles’s vision, in its turn, opened up a new facet of activist and environmental art for me. The unity of ideal, knowledge and personal experience in the artist’s work of art made me understand that art can be didactic and inspiring at the same time. I think Ukeles’s Flow City is that inspiring artwork which can improve our world.
Dr. The “Running Fence” Revisited. A Smithsonian American Art Museum Coproduction with estWest films/Wolfram Hissen, 2010. Web. 14 March 2011.
Dir. Running Fence. Perf. Christo, Jeanne-Claude.
A Maysles Films Production, 1977. DVD Sayre, Henry M. A World of Art. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.