Christo’s Umbrellas – 20 Year Anniversary

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Christo’s Umbrellas, a massive art project displaying in two counties simultaneously. In October 1991 Christo unfurled 1,716 large 29′ bright yellow umbrellas in California and 1,340 blue umbrellas in Japan. The umbrellas in the U.S. were displayed over an 18 mile stretch of Interstate 5 running through the Tejon Pass area of Kern County. The project was celebrated as an inspiring work of art, decried as a waste of time and money. All the while the umbrellas were observed by many with opinions on both sides as well as somewhere in between.

This project took a major feat of planning, was whimsical, amazing, controversial and in the end, tragic. A freak storm struck near the end of the project and a gust of wind uprooted an umbrella which struck and killed a young woman. Extreme irony for an art project that was intended to bring joy.

There are some photos and many details in the well written Bakersfield Californian article linked here. My one surviving umbrellas photo posted here is suffering from a case of bad scanning from a long time ago.


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