Will Christo’s oil-barrel pyramid ‘Mastaba’ finally rise?

Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude conceived their “Mastaba” -- a postmodern pyramid made of oil barrels -- as their largest and only permanent work. But since its conception in 1977, the project has enjoyed a protracted planning period that rivals those of the actual pyramids in Egypt.

Numerous setbacks -- including the wars in Iraq -- have delayed the project that was intended to rise on a desert site near Abu Dhabi.

The Guardian has reported that “The Mastaba” could be a step closer to completion. Christo told the British publication that a site called Al Gharbia, 100 miles from Abu Dhabi, has been approved for the pyramid.

“The Mastaba” would comprise approximately 410,000 oil barrels arranged to form a trapezoidal pyramid that would rise nearly 500 feet in the air, the Guardian reported Saturday.

Christo told the newspaper that the project is being financed “independently” through sales of his works and from “different investors.” The price tag for “The Mastaba” is expected to be $340 million.


No completion date has been announced, but Christo said that it would take 30 months to build and involve hundreds of people.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude have created numerous large-scale public installations around the world, including “The Gates” in New York’s Central Park and Berlin’s Reichstag wrapped in fabric. Their highly photogenic installations have usually been temporary. Jeanne-Claude died in 2009.


Photos: Jeanne-Claude | 1935-2009

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