Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition by Chris Burden.
Burden’s Three Ghost Ships is a trio of actual sailboats fitted with solar panels, electronic gear, and global satellite hookups for unmanned navigation. The artist intended these seemingly innocent vessels to carry a small amount of tea as they sail in unison from Charleston, South Carolina, and appear miraculously in the harbor of Plymouth, England.
Burden carefully selected the sites: The Mayflower embarked from Plymouth, and Charleston is home to major US air, naval, and Polaris submarine bases. The artist also invokes the Boston Tea Party, as well as Christopher Columbus’s own triad of vessels. There is, however, a sinister underside. Could these three electronic pleasure crafts be used to anonymously transport dangerous cargo? Three Ghost Ships epitomizes Burden’s masterful fusion of real machinery and complex metaphor.
In the Gagosian installation, the computer within one of the Ghost Ships will be programmed to periodically unfurl the boat’s sail, pivot its rudder, and simulate the mechanisms of automatic navigation.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a selection of Burden’s Small Guns, elegant groupings of toy instruments of war and domination, including metal soldiers, plastic hand grenades, simulated bombs, and two pairs of Chinese foot-binding slippers.
Gagosian Quarterly Films
Chris Burden: Big Wrench
From January 23 to February 21, 2019, Gagosian Quarterly presented a special online screening of Chris Burden’s 1980 video Big Wrench.
Sydney Stutterheim looks at the brief but feverish obsession behind this 1980 video by Chris Burden.
Deluxe Photo Book
Sydney Stutterheim discusses Chris Burden’s Deluxe Photo Book 1971–73 on the occasion of its inclusion in About Photography at Gagosian San Francisco.
Urban Light: A Ten Year Anniversary
Ten years ago LACMA premiered Chris Burden’s Urban Light, which has since become an iconic landmark for the city of Los Angeles. To celebrate the anniversary, we look back to 2008 with a conversation between Chris Burden and Michael Govan, director of LACMA.
The story behind Chris Burden’s Buddha’s Fingers (2014–15) and its connection to all of his streetlamp installations. Text by Sydney Stutterheim.
Burden’s Airship Takes Flight
Sydney Stutterheim investigates Chris Burden’s Ode to Santos-Dumont (2015) as the work takes flight during Art Basel Unlimited 2017.
Extended through March 12, 2016
January 19–March 12, 2016
980 Madison Avenue, New York