LOS ANGELES (AFP)
Christo, the artist famous for wrapping world landmarks, announced he is postponing for a year his next project, suspending silvery fabric over a river in the western United States.
"Over the River" will see eight sections of the Arkansas River covered with a total of 5.9 miles (10 kilometers) of billowing aluminized panels that will change shade over the course of each day.
In theory it was due to be on show between Salida and Carson City in Colorado in August 2014, but after various scheduling changes, the artist has decided to delay it until August 2015.
"Christo understands that this news may be disappointing to thousands of local residents and many thousands of art enthusiasts around the world who are looking forward to experiencing Over The River," he said in a statement.
"Nonetheless, this change will result in a better informed public and an improved installation schedule."
Formal approval for the ambitious undertaking was given last November by the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency within the Department of the Interior that administers public lands in the United States.
Seen from above, the panels -- to be hung two to eight meters (6.5 to 26 feet) above the river -- "will resemble waves at sea," the Bulgarian-born artist told AFP at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in November.
"It's a fabric with many folds, but not always horizontal because one river bank can be higher than another," he said, adding that from below, kayakers will get a sense of clouds and rolling mountains.
Christo, 76, started conceptualizing "Over the River" in 1992 with his wife and collaborator Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009.
Together they had undertaken 22 works of "environmental art" including the wrapping in fabric of such international landmarks as the Pont-Neuf in Paris and the Bundestag in Berlin.
"Over the River" will be financed entirely by Christo, who is selling preparatory drawings to the public.
Christo already has another project in the works: a re-creation of a mastaba, or ancient Egyptian tomb, in the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi with 390,500 brightly colored oil barrels.