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Call of the desert strong as ever for Christo

For nearly 40 years, Christo has been working to secure a piece of desert in Abu Dhabi for his project The Mastaba. The structure of 410,000 multicoloured barrels would be the largest sculpture in the world, and unlike many of Christo’s projects, it is designed to be permanent.

“The engineering plan is almost finished,” he told us, just before he flew to the emirate last month for a reception at the US embassy. But he added: “We need to have the land secure. That is the difficult part. It’s like the Eiffel Tower: it should remain a monument after I am gone.”

Meanwhile, after more than two decades of lawsuits over his plan to suspend 5.9 miles of silver, luminous fabric panels along the Arkansas River, legal closure is in sight. On 18 November, opponents delivered their closing oral arguments before a US Court of Appeals judge.