It's not quite as exciting as the real deal was, almost 34 years ago. But still it's huge for Sonoma County that a major exhibition on The Running Fence is coming to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in D.C.
The Fence's co-creator, Christo, who lost his wife and partner, Jeanne- Claude, just three months ago, will speak at the April 2 premiere. Also sure to attend are some of the 59 west Sonoma/Marin ranchers who initially shook their heads at the notion of an 18-foot-high, 24.5-mile-long curtain crossing their land. But they came around.
The art museum's Betsy Broun is elated about the exhibition.
"We believe The Running Fence was the most lyrical and in many ways the most important project that Christo and Jeanne-Claude ever created," Broun said.
She notes that the artists were little known when they came to the North Coast in 1972 and began talking up their idea to stretch a hugely expensive and technically elaborate nylon-and-cable fence from near Cotati to the sea. "They had no fanfare or celebrity to persuade people to work with them," Broun said.
People who were here at the time remember the epic, highly entertaining process of Christo and Jeanne-Claude promoting their audacious vision to ranchers, government officials, environmen-
talists and fellow artists.
The Running Fence went up at last in September 1976 and stayed up just two weeks. The museum exhibition includes original panels, Christo's large conceptual drawings, a 58-foot-long scale model and more than 240 photos — many of the Fence's Sonoma County presence.
There also are two films, one by Wolfram Hissen, who interviewed local veterans of the artistic odyssey during a visit here last fall. An accompanying book includes a chapter by Santa Rosa attorney Ed Anderson, who represented Christo and Jeanne-Claude and who'll be in D.C. on April 2.
The exhibition runs through Sept. 26. After that, the museum hopes to put it on the road from sea to sea.
LUCY AS ART: There's news, too, regarding another popular Sonoma County public-art project.
This summer, the family of the late Charles Schulz will add one more character to the Peanuts statues that have resided in Santa Rosa since 2005. Local artists customized 5-foot-tall Charlie Brown figures that year, Woodstock figures in 2006 and Snoopy figures in 2007.
Now it's Lucy's turn. Craig Schulz said there is money left over from the polyurethane statue project, which produced funds for art scholarships and for production of the bronze Peanuts sculptures at the county airport named for his father and at Finley Community Center.
Later this year, artists will begin working their magic on about 30 plain, white figures of Lucy. It'll be good to run into her downtown.
THE PAPER: Kelli Logasi perked up upon reading that businessman Kirk Veale for weeks received an Investor's Business Daily newspaper at his office on E Street, even though the address label was for the Trioni family business on D.
Kelli works at NorthNet Library System, also on E Street. For more than a year, she said, a Wall Street Journal was delivered to NorthNet, though no one there wanted it.
One morning not long ago, Kelli arrived at work early and saw an apparently homeless woman place the day's Wall Street Journal on NorthNet's doorstep.