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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

Ed Ruscha, Industrial Village, 1982 © Ed Ruscha

Art Fair

Frieze Los Angeles 2019

February 15–17, 2019, booth C06
Paramount Picture Studios, Los Angeles
frieze.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in the inaugural edition of Frieze Los Angeles. Featuring works by Chris Burden, Jennifer Guidi, Shio Kusaka, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Mary Weatherford, and others, the presentation will explore the various ways that Los Angeles–based artists have used drawing as both a physical and conceptual tool in their wide-ranging practices.

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at frieze.com. To preview our booth, go to artsy.net.

Download the full press release (PDF)

Ed Ruscha, Industrial Village, 1982 © Ed Ruscha

Chris Burden, Big Wrench, 1980 (still) © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

Screening and Visit

Chris Burden
Big Wrench

Friday, January 18, 2019, 6–8pm
Gagosian, Britannia Street, London

Join Gagosian Quarterly and MUBI for a screening of Chris Burden’s Big Wrench (1980) at Gagosian, Britannia Street, London. The event also provides a special opportunity to see the exhibition Chris Burden: Measured after hours before it closes on January 26, 2019. The short film will be shown at 6:10pm, 6:30pm, 6:50pm, 7:10pm, and 7:30pm. To attend the free event, RSVP to rsvplondon@gagosian.com

Chris Burden, Big Wrench, 1980 (still) © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

Chris Burden, 40 Foot Stepped Skyscraper, 2011 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Art Fair

The Estate Show at artgenève
Chris Burden

January 31–February 3, 2019
Palexpo, Geneva
www.artgeneve.ch

Chris Burden’s 40 Foot Stepped Skyscraper (2011) will be featured in The Estate Show, an annual event at artgenève presenting a monumental work by a historic artist.

In 2008, Burden’s massive architectural structure What My Dad Gave Me was installed at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan. One of the greatest technical feats of his oeuvre, the sculpture was built from approximately one million stainless-steel pieces replicating those of an Erector set, the popular twentieth-century children’s building toy. Though smaller than its 65-foot-high forebear, 40 Foot Stepped Skyscraper attests to Burden’s mastery of even more complex engineering principles. It was built in the approximate form of a ziggurat, with stairs that spiral around and step back from the perimeter as they rise to the sculpture’s apex. By moving around the sculpture, the viewer can conceive of climbing to the top, underscoring the tensions between monumental architecture and human possibility.

Download the full press release in English (PDF) or French (PDF)

Chris Burden, 40 Foot Stepped Skyscraper, 2011 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Museum Exhibitions

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

On View

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

Through 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

Chris Burden, 1/4 Carat Diamond 1/4 Carat Cubic Zirconium Magnified 25 Times, #3, 2007 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

On View

Crystals in Art
Ancient to Today

Through 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 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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

On View

The Foundation of the Museum
MOCA’s Collection

Through January 19, 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, TV Hijack, 1972 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Gary Beydler

Closed

Chris Burden in
Closer Look: Intimate-Scale Sculpture from the Permanent Collection

April 7–September 1, 2019
Orange County Museum of Art, Santa Ana, California
docs.wixstatic.com

This exhibition provides a focused look at small sculpture in OCMA’s permanent collection. Selected for their innovative materials and playfulness in scale and function, the artworks in Closer Look are intended to be viewed at a close distance, providing the viewer with intimate moments in which to make slow and careful observations about content and construction. Work by Chris Burden is included.

Chris Burden, TV Hijack, 1972 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Gary Beydler

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Press

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