Slow time for curtain sale

Museums will pass on famous remnan

Fabric fragments from the 142,000 square-foot orange curtain that hung across a highway north of Rifle in 1972 are for sale by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

The couple wants to sell bits of the “Valley Curtain” to a Colorado museum.

But if the Rifle Creek Museum or the Museum of the West are contacted, they’re not interested.

They’ve already got plenty of material.

“I’ve got a number of things already,” said Rifle museum coordinator Kim Fazzi. “We just wouldn’t be interested. I don’t know where we’d put it.”

Fazzi already has yards of fabric, scrapbooks, engineer sketches, photos, cable, small memorabilia and even a clock taking up a hallway in the 20-room museum.

David Bailey, curator of history and director of the western investigations team at the Museum of the West, said he thinks the museum has pieces of the fabric, too, as well as some post cards and pictures.

Bailey said with the economy how it is, the museum has to be pretty selective about what it buys, and he said a piece of ripped fabric just doesn’t excite people.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are selling the “Valley Curtain” fabric along with a collection of photos and drawings to raise funds for another project,  which would stretch silvery fabric six miles from Salida to Canon City, a portion suspended over the Arkansas River.

In the late 1990s, on the 25th anniversary of the “Valley Curtain” installation, Frazzi said she met the artists.

“She did most of the talking,” Fazzi said of Jeanne-Claude. “She’s very French ... He’s very shy.”

The pieces in the Rifle museum collection were donated to the museum.

“Valley Curtain” took two years to formalize, stayed up for a little more than a day and involved 100 workers.

Fazzi said people’s reaction to the “Valley Curtain” collection in the Rifle museum goes one of two ways.

Either the viewer is “endlessly fascinated or thinks it’s the stupidest things they’ve ever seen,” she said.

The Rifle museum will close for the season in about two weeks before reopening in May.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude sell works of art from their massive fabric-based installations to museums, private collectors and art dealers to fund projects, according to their Web site,


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