In September 1976, a curtain of shimmering white was unfurled across the hills of rural northern California, running unbroken for 24.5 miles from Sonoma County to the Pacific Ocean. The artistic vision of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "Running Fence" was 18 feet high and traversed the private properties of 59 ranchers. Although it remained in place for just two weeks, the process of planning it consumed nearly four years, and the installation required helicopters, barges, lawyers, and more than 300 Bay Area students and workers. This beautiful book, companion volume to the exhibition of the same name, tells the story of this legendary art installation. Illustrated throughout with graphic representations and stunning photographs, Christo and Jeanne-Claude recounts how two artists who were complete strangers to the area gradually enlisted the support of entire communities in order to make their vision a reality. Brian O'Doherty's insightful essay considers the legacy of "The Running Fence", while remembrances from other contributors, including the artists' California attorney provide as full an experience of "Running Fence" as is possible, short of actually having been there.
This title is copublished by Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Brian O'Doherty is an artist and writer and is the author of Inside the White Cube: Ideologies of Gallery Space (UC Press).