Running Fence was an installation art piece by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, which was completed on September 10, 1976. The builders removed it 14 days later, leaving no visible trace.

It consisted of a veiled fence 24.5 miles (39.4 km) long extending across the hills of Sonoma and Marin counties in northern California, United States. The 18-foot (5.5 m) high fence was composed of 2,050 panels of white nylon fabric hung from steel cables by means of 350,000 hooks. The cables were supported by 2,050 steel poles stuck into the ground and braced by steel guy wires anchored to the earth.

The route of the fence began near U.S. Highway 101 and crossed 14 roads and the private property of 59 ranchers to reach the Pacific Ocean near Bodega Bay. The required environmental impact report for the piece was 450 pages long.

The piece was the subject of a 1978 documentary film Running Fence by Albert and David Maysles.[3] The film includes scenes showing the local response to the project, which ranged from excitement to resentment and active protest. Several Californians including Expressionist painter Byron Randall protested the piece on the grounds of both land infringement and lack of artistic merit; however others appreciated the beauty of the work and in the end the project was completed.

The piece is commemorated by historic markers at Watson School near Bodega, California and at State Route 1 in Valley Ford, California. In December 1976, the County Landmarks Commission, County of Sonoma designated the Valley Ford site (pole #7-33) as History Landmark #24.

Christo’s Running Fence


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