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Chris Burden

Chris Burden, Shoot, 1971 Performance at F Space, Santa Ana, California, November 19, 1971© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Shoot, 1971

Performance at F Space, Santa Ana, California, November 19, 1971
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Bed Piece, 1972 Performance at 72 Market Street, Venice, California, February 18–March 10, 1972© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Bed Piece, 1972

Performance at 72 Market Street, Venice, California, February 18–March 10, 1972
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, 747, 1973 Performance at Los Angeles, January 5, 1973© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, 747, 1973

Performance at Los Angeles, January 5, 1973
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Sex Tower (Architectural Model of 125 Foot High Sex Tower), 1976 Cement, wood, metal screws, and gold leaf, 133 ½ × 36 ¼ × 37 ¾ inches (339.1 × 92.1 × 95.9 cm)© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Sex Tower (Architectural Model of 125 Foot High Sex Tower), 1976

Cement, wood, metal screws, and gold leaf, 133 ½ × 36 ¼ × 37 ¾ inches (339.1 × 92.1 × 95.9 cm)
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Thank You, 1979 Black-and-white photograph, color photograph, nail, gold foil, fabric, painted paper collage, and felt-tip pen on board, 32 × 40 inches (81.3 × 101.6 cm)© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Thank You, 1979

Black-and-white photograph, color photograph, nail, gold foil, fabric, painted paper collage, and felt-tip pen on board, 32 × 40 inches (81.3 × 101.6 cm)
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Breakthrough, 1982 Printed paper collage, plastic, and aluminum dog tag on paper, 31 ½ × 39 ½ inches (80 × 100.3 cm)© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Breakthrough, 1982

Printed paper collage, plastic, and aluminum dog tag on paper, 31 ½ × 39 ½ inches (80 × 100.3 cm)
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Scale Model of the Solar System, 1983 Plastic, steel ball bearings, plexiglass, dimensions variable, installed at Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, February 25–March 27, 1983© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Scale Model of the Solar System, 1983

Plastic, steel ball bearings, plexiglass, dimensions variable, installed at Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, February 25–March 27, 1983
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, L.A.P.D. Uniform, 1993 Fabric, leather, wood, metal, and plastic, 88 × 72 × 6 inches (223.5 × 182.9 × 15.2 cm), edition of 30© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, L.A.P.D. Uniform, 1993

Fabric, leather, wood, metal, and plastic, 88 × 72 × 6 inches (223.5 × 182.9 × 15.2 cm), edition of 30
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, The Flying Steamroller, 1996 Steel, concrete, and 1968 Huber road grader, 21 feet × 56 feet 6 inches × 56 feet 6 inches (6.4 × 17.2 × 17.2 m), installed at MAK—Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst/Gegenwartskunst, Vienna, February 28–August 4, 1996© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, The Flying Steamroller, 1996

Steel, concrete, and 1968 Huber road grader, 21 feet × 56 feet 6 inches × 56 feet 6 inches (6.4 × 17.2 × 17.2 m), installed at MAK—Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst/Gegenwartskunst, Vienna, February 28–August 4, 1996
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Tower of London Bridge, 2003 Stainless steel reproduction Mysto Type I Erector parts, gearbox, and wood base, 28 ¼ × 80 ¼ × 8 ½ (71.8 × 203.8 × 21.6 cm), edition of 6 + 3 AP© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Tower of London Bridge, 2003

Stainless steel reproduction Mysto Type I Erector parts, gearbox, and wood base, 28 ¼ × 80 ¼ × 8 ½ (71.8 × 203.8 × 21.6 cm), edition of 6 + 3 AP
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, The Rant, 2006 DVD, color, sound, 2:10 minutes, edition of 10© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, The Rant, 2006

DVD, color, sound, 2:10 minutes, edition of 10
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, 65 Foot High Skyscraper, Angled View & Front View, 2008 Ink on paper, in 2 parts, overall: 19 ⅛ × 24 ⅝ inches (48.6 × 62.5 cm)© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, 65 Foot High Skyscraper, Angled View & Front View, 2008

Ink on paper, in 2 parts, overall: 19 ⅛ × 24 ⅝ inches (48.6 × 62.5 cm)
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, What My Dad Gave Me, 2008 Approximately 1,000 stainless steel reproduction Mysty Type I Erector parts, nuts, and bolts, 65 feet × 11 feet 2 inches × 11 feet 3 inches (19.8 × 3.4 × 3.4 m), installed at Rockefeller Plaza, New York, June 11, 2008–July 19, 2008© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Erich Koyama

Chris Burden, What My Dad Gave Me, 2008

Approximately 1,000 stainless steel reproduction Mysty Type I Erector parts, nuts, and bolts, 65 feet × 11 feet 2 inches × 11 feet 3 inches (19.8 × 3.4 × 3.4 m), installed at Rockefeller Plaza, New York, June 11, 2008–July 19, 2008
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Erich Koyama

Chris Burden, Metropolis II, 2006–10 3 hp DC motors with motor controllers, 1080 custom manufactured die-cast cars, HO-scale train sets with controllers and tracks, steel, aluminum, shielded copper wire, copper sheet, brass, various plastics, assorted woods and manufactured wood products, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Dado Cubes, glass, ceramic and natural stone tiles, acrylic and oil-base paints, rubber, and sundry adhesives, 117 × 339 × 230 inches (297 × 861 × 584 cm)© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Metropolis II, 2006–10

3 hp DC motors with motor controllers, 1080 custom manufactured die-cast cars, HO-scale train sets with controllers and tracks, steel, aluminum, shielded copper wire, copper sheet, brass, various plastics, assorted woods and manufactured wood products, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Dado Cubes, glass, ceramic and natural stone tiles, acrylic and oil-base paints, rubber, and sundry adhesives, 117 × 339 × 230 inches (297 × 861 × 584 cm)
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Urban Light, 2008 202 fully restored Los Angeles cast-iron streetlamps from the 1920s (17 styles of lamps that have been sandblasted, painted, and electrified), 26 feet 8 ½ inches × 57 feet 2 ½ inches × 58 feet 8 ½ inches (8.1 × 17.4 × 17.9 m), permanent installation at Los Angeles County Museum of Art© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Museum Associates/LACMA

Chris Burden, Urban Light, 2008

202 fully restored Los Angeles cast-iron streetlamps from the 1920s (17 styles of lamps that have been sandblasted, painted, and electrified), 26 feet 8 ½ inches × 57 feet 2 ½ inches × 58 feet 8 ½ inches (8.1 × 17.4 × 17.9 m), permanent installation at Los Angeles County Museum of Art
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Museum Associates/LACMA

Chris Burden, Holmby Hills Light Folly, 2012 4 Holmby Hills cast-iron streetlamps from the 1920s, fully restored and electrified, and 4 cast-iron benches, 168 × 168 × 168 inches (426.7 × 426.7 × 426.7 cm), installed at Parcours Art Basel, June 19–22, 2014© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: J. Searles

Chris Burden, Holmby Hills Light Folly, 2012

4 Holmby Hills cast-iron streetlamps from the 1920s, fully restored and electrified, and 4 cast-iron benches, 168 × 168 × 168 inches (426.7 × 426.7 × 426.7 cm), installed at Parcours Art Basel, June 19–22, 2014
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: J. Searles

Chris Burden, Porsche with Meteorite, 2013 Restored 1974 Porsche 914, 390-pound meteorite, and steel structure© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Brian Forrest

Chris Burden, Porsche with Meteorite, 2013

Restored 1974 Porsche 914, 390-pound meteorite, and steel structure
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Brian Forrest

Chris Burden, Three Arch Dry Stack Bridge, 1/4 Scale, 2013 974 hand-cast concrete blocks and wood, 46 × 332 ½ × 21 inches (116.8 × 844.6 × 53.3 cm)© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Chris Burden, Three Arch Dry Stack Bridge, 1/4 Scale, 2013

974 hand-cast concrete blocks and wood, 46 × 332 ½ × 21 inches (116.8 × 844.6 × 53.3 cm)
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Thomas Lannes

Chris Burden, Buddha’s Fingers, 2014–15 32 antique cast-iron streelamps, 142 × 108 × 108 inches (360.6 × 274.3 × 274.3 cm), installed at Gagosian, 980 Madison Avenue, New York, January 19–March 12, 2016© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Chris Burden, Buddha’s Fingers, 2014–15

32 antique cast-iron streelamps, 142 × 108 × 108 inches (360.6 × 274.3 × 274.3 cm), installed at Gagosian, 980 Madison Avenue, New York, January 19–March 12, 2016
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

Chris Burden, Ode to Santos-Dumont, 2015 7075 aircraft aluminum reproduction Erector parts, carbon fiber drive shaft, fiberglass propeller, nylon cable, hand tooled 1:4 scale replica of 1903 gasoline motor, polyurethane balloon, 1300 cubic feet of helium, dimensions variable, installed at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, May 18–June 21, 2015© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Ode to Santos-Dumont, 2015

7075 aircraft aluminum reproduction Erector parts, carbon fiber drive shaft, fiberglass propeller, nylon cable, hand tooled 1:4 scale replica of 1903 gasoline motor, polyurethane balloon, 1300 cubic feet of helium, dimensions variable, installed at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, May 18–June 21, 2015
© 2018 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

About

“Limits” is a relative term. Like beauty, it is often in the eye of the beholder.
—Chris Burden

From his action-based works of the 1970s to the jaw-dropping technical feats of his later sculptures, Chris Burden (1946–2015) consistently challenged his mental and physical limitations, reflecting on the surreal and precarious realities of contemporary life. Burden was a radical and uncompromising figure with a fierce political consciousness.

Burden earned his MFA in 1971 from the University of California, Irvine, where he studied under the conceptual artist Robert Irwin. Like Irwin—whose site-specific architectural interventions consider the effects of space and light on the viewer—Burden was interested in the staging of spectacle and the ways in which art could complicate one’s understanding of the material world. In his early performances Burden responded to the violent realities of the Vietnam War by putting his body at risk. For Five Day Locker Piece (1971), he locked himself into a school locker, drinking water from a five-gallon bottle stored in the locker above and urinating into a five-gallon bottle in the locker below. That same year, for Shoot, Burden’s friend shot him in the left arm from a distance of fifteen feet. The piece, which lasted only about eight seconds, was recorded on Super-8 film.

In the late 1970s Burden turned to monumental sculpture, considering how the scale and placement of public infrastructure could be manipulated in order to explore the implications of power, speed, and balance. In 1979 he created The Big Wheel, a kinetic work composed of a 1968 Benelli motorcycle placed on a wooden frame and attached to a nineteenth-century metal flywheel. When the bike is mounted and revved, the flywheel is set into motion.

This industrial thrill continued in the 1980s and 1990s with Beam Drop (1984/2008)—a work that involved dropping I beams from a crane into a large pit of wet concrete—and Medusa’s Head (1990), an amorphous mass of wood, steel, cement, rock, and model railroad trains and tracks, evocative of a country-sized chunk of earth that has been extracted and squished into a ball. Beam Drop was re-created in 2008 at the Inhotim Institute in Brazil, where its final, sculptural product is now permanently installed, while Medusa’s Head is held in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In 2000 Burden began collecting street lamps from the 1920s and 1930s, once used in residential neighborhoods of Los Angeles, and repurposing them as sculptural installations. This led to his celebrated permanent installation Urban Light (2008), comprising 202 lampposts, at the entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Starting in 2003, Burden also constructed large-scale models of bridges—both real and imagined—with thousands of toy construction parts. Tower of London Bridge (2003) mimics every aspect of the famous bridge’s suspension design, including the functional drawbridge, and Three Arch Dry Stack Bridge, 1/4 Scale (2013)—first exhibited in Extreme Measures (2013–14), a major survey of Burden’s work at the New Museum in New York—comprises three elegant arches made of hand-cast concrete blocks held together by gravity.

Burden’s last completed work, Ode to Santos Dumont (2015), is a kinetic airship modeled after Alberto Santos-Dumont’s 1901 dirigible that flew around the Eiffel Tower. Built over a ten-year period, it achieves indoor flight in fifteen-minute intervals and simultaneously embodies both ambitions of industrial invention and reveries of childhood marvels. The first artist to be represented by Larry Gagosian, beginning in 1978.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Installation view, American Pastoral, Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, January 23–March 14, 2020. Artwork, left to right: © Theaster Gates, © Adam McEwen, Thomas Moran, © Richard Prince, © Banks Violette, © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Tour

American Pastoral

Thursday, March 5, 2020, 6:30pm
Gagosian, Britannia Street, London

Join Gagosian for a tour of the group exhibition American Pastoral. The show juxtaposes modern and contemporary works with historical American landscapes ranging from Albert Bierstadt’s depiction of the sublime in Sunset over the River (1877) to Edward Hopper’s tranquil seaside scene, Gloucester Harbor (1926). Gagosian’s Alice Godwin will focus on a select grouping of exhibited works that seek to challenge the idealized vision of the American Dream that has long been a rich topic of inquiry for artists in the United States. To attend the free event, RSVP to londontours@gagosian.com. Space is limited.

Installation view, American Pastoral, Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, January 23–March 14, 2020. Artwork, left to right: © Theaster Gates, © Adam McEwen, Thomas Moran, © Richard Prince, © Banks Violette, © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Chris Burden, L.A.P.D. Uniform, 1993 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Online Viewing Room

Frieze Los Angeles 2020

February 10–19, 2020
gagosianviewingroom.com

Gagosian will launch its latest Online Viewing Room on the occasion of Frieze Los Angeles, with available works by Chris BurdenAlex Israel & Bret Easton EllisNeil JenneyAlbert Oehlen, Chris Ofili, David ReedEd Ruscha, Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, Tatiana Trouvé, and Jonas WoodMany of the artworks included in this virtual presentation consider the political, geographical, and social landscapes of Los Angeles.

The Frieze Los Angeles 2020 Online Viewing Room will open at 12:00am on Monday, February 10, in Hong Kong, and close at 11:59pm on Wednesday, February 19, in Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

For more information about the Online Viewing Room or the work to be featured, please contact inquire@gagosian.com.

Download the full press release (PDF)

Chris Burden, L.A.P.D. Uniform, 1993 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Extreme Present

Exhibition

The Extreme Present

Opening reception: Tuesday, December 3, 5–8pm
December 4–8, 2019
Moore Building, Miami

Gagosian is pleased to announce The Extreme Present, the fifth in a series of annual exhibitions at the Moore Building in the Miami Design District during Art Basel Miami Beach, presented by Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch. The Extreme Present will explore artists’ reactions to the conditions of our accelerating and increasingly complex world. The title is inspired by The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present, a book by Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, published in 2015. Their provocative thesis addresses the rapidly evolving digital era, half a century after Marshall McLuhan’s groundbreaking study on technology’s influence on culture, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, in which he coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” Works in this exhibition explore concepts of media, communication, togetherness, and isolation.

Download the full press release (PDF)

The Extreme Present

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Museum Exhibitions

Chris Burden, Metropolis, 2004 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Keizo Kioku

On View

Chris Burden in
Where We Now Stand: In Order to Map the Future [2]

Through April 12, 2020
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan
www.kanazawa21.jp

This exhibition reinterprets work from the museum’s collection to examine the world today. Work by Chris Burden is included.

Chris Burden, Metropolis, 2004 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Keizo Kioku

Chris Burden, Exposing the Foundation of the Museum, 1986 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Squidds and Nunns

Closed

The Foundation of the Museum
MOCA’s Collection

May 19, 2019–January 20, 2020
Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles
www.moca.org

To mark the museum’s fortieth anniversary, this exhibition presents a selected topography of artworks that speak to the diversity of MOCA’s collecting over the past four decades. With special emphasis on works associated with the museum’s remarkable history of exhibitions, The Foundation of the Museum: MOCA’s Collection shows the institution’s holdings as shaped by a changing landscape of developments in contemporary art and curatorial focus, as well by as the social and cultural backdrops that inform them. Work by Chris Burden, Mike Kelley, Bruce Nauman, Albert Oehlen, Nancy Rubins, and Ed Ruscha is included.

Chris Burden, Exposing the Foundation of the Museum, 1986 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Squidds and Nunns

Chris Burden, 1/4 Carat Diamond 1/4 Carat Cubic Zirconium Magnified 25 Times, #3, 2007 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Closed

Crystals in Art
Ancient to Today

October 12, 2019–January 6, 2020
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas
crystalbridges.org

Crystals in Art explores the connections between crystals and art throughout the world, spanning history and geography. The exhibition includes a selection of works and specimens from ancient Egypt up to the present day and addresses broader recurring themes in the history of crystals such as science and religion, art and medicine, aesthetic beauty and transformation, and more. Work by Chris Burden, Pablo Picasso, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol is included.

Chris Burden, 1/4 Carat Diamond 1/4 Carat Cubic Zirconium Magnified 25 Times, #3, 2007 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Chris Burden, Shoot, 1971 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Barbara T. Smith

Closed

Chris Burden in
Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975

September 29, 2019–January 5, 2020
Minneapolis Institute of Art
new.artsmia.org

Artists Respond brings together nearly one hundred works by fifty-eight of the most visionary and provocative artists and collectives of the Vietnam War era. Galvanized by the moral urgency of the conflict, these artists reimagined the goals and uses of art across multiple movements and media: painting, sculpture, printmaking, performance and body art, installation, documentary art, and conceptual art. This exhibition has traveled from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. Work by Chris Burden is included.

Chris Burden, Shoot, 1971 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Barbara T. Smith

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Press

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