I cancelled Olga's dog walker yesterday so she and I could go on a special adventure. I took her on the tube down to Hyde Park so we could see the Mastaba at the Serpentine.
The Mastaba is a gigantic structure by Christo, who with his late partner Jeanne-Claude is known for installing large-scale environmental artworks. They surrounded Florida islands with hot pink fabric and hung an orange curtain across a Colorado canyon, for example. This is Christo's first major outdoor public work in the UK.
It consists of 7,506 stacked 55-gallon drums, like those used for oil (but these were newly made for this project). It's about 66 feet high and sits on an elaborate platform and scaffold, held in place with 32 anchors. You can read more here about the Mastaba, its construction and the environmental factors that were considered before its installation.
Apparently a mastaba is a type of ancient Mesopotamian bench, with this shape.
Olga wasn't all that taken with it. She was more concerned with cooling off in the water and I was distracted trying to prevent her tennis ball from drifting off into oblivion in the lake.
The Mastaba is certainly a very colorful presence. But despite its size, at least one art reviewer was underwhelmed, calling it "a gigantic bath toy afloat on tepid waters."
I used to take Olga to Hyde Park all the time back when we lived in Notting Hill. I looked for some sign that she recognized it, but it's hard to tell -- we haven't been there for years, and we entered from the east side rather than our usual west, so that could have confused her. Still, we had a great time walking around under clear sunny skies, visiting the Albert Memorial, having a cheese toastie by the lake (well, I did, anyway) and later hearing a busker sing "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," which for some reason seemed a perfect song for a summer day.