Heard of The Mastaba?



It isn't new, and it isn't anywhere close — locally, to us, or chronologically, to now.

The Mastaba is Christo and the late Jeanne-Claude's other work in progress. And it's a doozy: It is their first and only permanent outdoor work. Upon completion, it will be the largest sculpture in the world, according to its website.

The piece, an enormous ruddy monolith planned for the United Arab Emirates, will rest on sand, and reach more than 492 feet into the air. The footprint, larger in area than the top, will stretch nearly 1,000 feet in each direction.

A collage visualization of The Mastaba by Christo.
  • Andre Grossman
  • A collage visualization of "The Mastaba" by Christo.

Scale detail by Christo.

A to-scale study of the Mastaba with the Great Pyramid of Giza.
  • A to-scale study of the "Mastaba" with the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Like all of the duo's projects, this one was first conceived decades ago, back in 1977. Two years later, the pair visited the UAE for the first time, and picked out the 55-gallon steel barrels that will make up the Mastaba. It will use 410,000 of them, each of varying colors, to sparkle in a mosaic fashion and reference the tessellated nature of Islamic art.

There's no set date for the work yet, though the website says that Christo hired a firm to analyze the economic and social benefits of the project last year.

Should you want to hear more from the man himself, and hear about our very own Over the River, Christo announced that he will be in Colorado in late August to discuss his projects. He'll speak at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village Aug. 23 (it's currently sold out, but a waitlist and an overflow room with live video are set up) and at the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride Aug. 24 (tickets for that are still available.)

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