What do you think of the London Mastaba? (Christo & Jeanne Claude)

I took a day trip to London on Saturday for what I consider to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience - to see the London Mastaba.

It’s a floating sculpture made from 7,500 steel oil drums, floating on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. It was created by Christo (who now goes by the name of Christo & Jeanne Claude, I think in honour of his late wife) - that is, the same guy who is famous for wrapping buildings and landmarks in fabric.

I don’t profess to understand this piece, but I like it. It’s massive, yet, it’s just floating there - it interrupts the view - the shape and the colour scheme gives it an almost unreal quality - as if it’s just somehow pasted into reality.
This is the first public work that Christo has done in the UK, so I feel quite privileged to have been able to witness it firsthand.

It’s only there for one more week, then it will be dismantled and recycled - the juxtaposition between its blocky, robust, solid-looking appearance, and it’s ephemeral appearance also pleases me in some way.

What do you think? The locals and tourists seemed to be loving it, but I uploaded a YouTube video about it and some of the comments are to the effect ‘this is not art’. What say you?

It’s definitely art, but it doesn’t really speak to me personally. I did like his Reichstag installation though, it was very suggestive about the nature of democracy and governance in the way it was wrapped like a gift and completely closed off from the constituents.

It certainly would please me more than if it were permanent. That’s why I think there is a lot of resentment against ugly “artistic” public buildings because people have to look at the eyesore every day (thankfully I do not live next to one of the monstrosities.)

As to the actual art, from the link, it’s the prettiest of these pop-up monumental installations I’ve seen. That is, it’s still only “meh”.

I’ve always rather enjoyed his work but I’ve never seen one in person and I think it is impossible to give credible criticism or opinion unless you experience it first hand.

It forces an opinion from you about whether you like it or not and, while that does not define art it is as fair a starting point as ‘Made by artist who would be willing to take money for it, so therefore …’

I personally like it both as a big intrusive thing, in that setting, the combination of bulk and detail and colours and the fact its resurrecting an Egyptian architectural form. Good stuff!

I’m certain that the long sleeved fire engine red t-shirt with ‘The London Mastaba’ on it from the Gift Shop will be worn proudly to high-school, on dates, walking through rough neighbourhoods etc.

So does trolling, and while many trolls want to call themselves performance art, both online and offline, I’d prefer not to let them elevate themselves thusly. (Also, username/post combo, Banksyaman? :D)

Eh… I don’t care for it, but I’m a non-artistic cretin.

It doesn’t photograph well at all. What you linked to was very one dimensional and looked like I drew it on my computer. I would go so far as to say it’s something of an optical illusion.

I imagine the size, shape and movement of the piece is very impressive if you’re standing there. Once you’ve actually seen it you probably can’t see it any other way.

The best part is the “duck audience” in the foreground :smiley: I don’t love it, mainly because the colours sort of pixellate/strobe and that gives me migraines. Generally, I like interesting things, and it’s certainly that.

Makes me think of Q-bert. :slight_smile:

someone aught to photograph it in stereo. that would help the mind to interpret it as a 3 dimensional object and also give it scale.

I love it. I’ve been a big, big fan of Christo since I first became aware of him in 1983.

I lived in South Florida when he did Surrounded Islands; I saw it with my own eyes. It remains one of the most indelible, moving and beautiful images I’ve ever seen (and I’ve spent more than 48 days in Supai; I have a pretty high bar for “spectacular”).

Love it, always love his work, even if it’s unfortunate I’ll probably never see any of it in person. A friend was lucky enough to be in NY for the Gates in Central Park.

Maybe go wild and search London Mastaba on youtube.

HOLYSHIT how come I’d never heard of that place?!?!?!?!?!

adds Supai to her bucket list

I think it’s pretty, which is more than I can say about a lot of the stuff my local government invests on as part of its Arts budget. At other scales it would be a nice addition to a place like this, liven it up a little… (yeah, I just talked about a mastaba livening something up :p).

Dammit, I’ll miss it by a week. I generally like Christo’s work, I like the out-of-placeness of it (I think ‘pasted into reality’ describes it very well). I was fortunate enough to see his Big Air Package in Oberhausen, it was a great experience—IMO, pictures simply don’t capture this sort of thing well.

There was a good documentary on a week or two ago in the UK all about Christo and especially creating the Mastaba.

Sadly, that was almost the first I had heard of it so I shan’t be able to see it in person, much as I’d like to. But my partner should manage to see it this weekend just before it starts to be taken down, I hope.

I’m not sure that looking at, and then exiting the gift shop online counts.

“London Mastaba” would make a great character name in some pulp novel. Maybe a noir detective, or the Fabio character in a bodice-ripper.

It’s like that in real life - it’s like it has been photoshopped right into your eyeballs. I don’t know if that was intentional