Christo and Jeanne-Claude exhibit in London:The Mastaba 1958-2018

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s art structure of oil barrels in London called the Mastaba got me thinking about climate change. Outside of art, How is a barrel of oil used?  Who uses the most oil?  Who extracts the most oil?  How does oil contribute to climate change?

First, who are the artists?  Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude are known for their ambitious super-sized works of art that transform a site for a short period of time before the site is returned to its original state.  Other examples of their art projects include Wrapped Coast, Sydney, Australia, 1968-69; and The Gates, Central Park, New York City 1979-2005.

The Mastaba, Arabic for bench, was conceived in 1967.  It was to be built on Lake Michigan.  Five decades later, it colors the Serpentine Lake in London and will soon be removed.  It resides at a hub where bikers, walkers, swimmers, boaters, all enjoy Kensington Gardens.  As large as it is, it fits in.

Video of The Mastaba in London by Christo and Jeanne-Claude

My video incorporates photos and live footage at the London site with data about oil.  You’ll see what petroleum products are made from a barrel of oil, and who are the top ten producers of oil in the world and who are the top ten consumers of oil in the world. As a result of oil usage, there is record high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  Sea Ice loss and dramatic weather events are two indicators of the climate change ramping up around us.

“Any interpretation is legitimate — critical or positive,” Christo said. “All make you think. This is why we are human — to think.”

By Liz O’Connell