On August 10, 1972, in Rifle, Colorado, between Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs in the Grand Hogback Mountain Range, at 11 am a group of 35 construction workers and 64 temporary helpers, art-school and college students, and itinerant art workers tied down the last of 27 ropes that secured the 200,200 square feet (18,600 square meters) of woven nylon fabric orange curtain to its moorings at Rifle Gap, 7 miles (11.3 km) north of Rifle, on Highway 325.
Valley Curtain was designed by Dimiter Zagoroff and John Thomson of Unipolycon of Lynn, Massachusetts, and Dr. Ernest C. Harris of Ken R. White Company, Denver, Colorado. It was built by A and H Builders, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado, President Theodore Dougherty, under the site supervision of Henry B. Leininger.
Because the curtain was suspended at a width of 1,250 feet (381 meters) and a height curving from 365 feet (111 meters) at each end to 182 feet (55.5 meters) at the center, the curtain remained clear of the slopes and the valley bottom. A 10-foot-(3-meter)-skirt attached to the lower part of the curtain visually completed the area between the thimbles and the ground.
An outer cocoon enclosed the fully fitted curtain for protection during transit and for the time of when it was raised into position. It was then secured to 11 cable-clamps connections at the 4 main upper cables. The cables spanned 1,368 feet (417 meters), weighed 61 tons and were anchored to 864 tons of concrete foundations.
An inner cocoon, integral to the curtain, provided added insurance. The bottom of the curtain was laced to a 3-inch-(7.6-centimeter)-diameter Dacron rope from which the control and tie-down lines ran to the 27 anchors.
The Valley Curtain project took 28 months to complete.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s temporary work of art was financed by the Valley Curtain Corporation (Jeanne-Claude Christo-Javacheff, President) through the sale of the studies, preparatory drawings and collages, scale models, early works and original lithographs. The artists do not accept sponsorship of any kind.
On August 11, 1972, 28 hours after completion of the Valley Curtain, a gale estimated in excess of 60 mph (96.6 kph) made it necessary to start the removal.