Christo plans to work his tragic on Paris’s Arc de Triomphe, draping it in blue fabric, but fortunately not until 2020, well after my family and I visit the City of Light, if we decide to go. The arch has been under siege for years, most recently by the yellow-vest protesters against the French president, and for decades by the insufficiently distant architorture of La Défense, so much more offensive since I last visited in 2003. The suburban La Défense, which mars the view through the arch up the Champs Élysées from the east, also represents the vandals at the gate – the future skyscrapers of central Paris, whom the city’s insane mayor has invited in to romp and ruin.
There should be a class-action lawsuit against Christo by the millions whose vacations he’s wrecked over the years with his wrapping of great monuments so that visitors cannot experience their beauty. Christo should be required to inform all potential travelers by certified mail well in advance of any future project, so that civilized people may schedule their visits accordingly, if they can.
But perhaps more effective would be the general dissemination of the best skit I’ve ever seen – a sendup both witty and profound by Stephen Colbert in 2005 before he left The Daily Show. His target is actually one of Christo’s least offensive installations, the Gates, in Central Park, which “reconceptualizes” what can be done with $25 million. A hospital wing? No, the redecoration of a bike path. Actually, Colbert torches not just Christo and the Gates but the world of art that takes Christo seriously.
So before you do, first send it to all your friends and have them do the same, and maybe Christo will run for the hills, his head hanging in shame. Shame? Well, maybe not. Still, worth a try. Meanwhile, Christo, keep your mitts off the Arc de Triomphe. Paris and its many lovers should be up in arms over many things, but this is not the least among them.