Since the early 1960s, the artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude have created large-scale works of "environmental art" around the world. They wrapped the Pont Neuf in Paris with fabric; they scattered 1,300 umbrellas on a field in Japan; they strung a 25-mile fabric fence across California hills; they erected 7,500 steel-and-fabric "gates" in New York's Central Park. These famous "installations" are as controversial as they are impressive, but the artistic intent is simple: The aesthetic enjoyment of familiar environments, seen in different and surprising ways.
Twenty feet from my window is a stone wall that runs the entire length of my property, and well beyond. It's a silent reminder that Christo and Jeanne-Claude have been hopelessly outclassed by New England farmers. We in fact live in the epicenter of a vast environmental art installation, so vast that no one person can ever hope to see all of it. We're literally embedded in a staggering regional network of stone walls.