[In the early 1970s] Burden’s shockingly simple, unforgettable, and strikingly poignant performances took the jaded art world by surprise as an example of what the most extreme art could be. The image of Burden that unfortunately continues to resonate in the public mind is a of a young man who had himself, shot, electrocuted, impaled, cut, drowned, incarcerated, and sequestered. Although the early performance works remain critical to understanding the formal and thematic concerns of Burden’s post-performance sculptural works, too often the myth obscures the facts.
Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition by Chris Burden featuring various means of evidence—photographs, relics, and films—made during the artist’s performances and events from the early ’70s through the ’80s.
The exhibition will include the Deluxe Photo Album (1971–73), which consists of photographs and texts documenting legendary performances such as Shoot (1971) and Five Day Locker Piece (1971). Several “Relics” from Burden’s performances will also be displayed. The “Relics” are critical artifacts and physical touchstones from Burden’s performances such as Trans-Fixed (1974) and Dreamy Nights (1979).
Also included in the exhibition are television commercials Burden made during the mid ’70s, which were originally screened during airtime he had purchased on TV stations in New York and Los Angeles. These commercials have recently been made into a small edition on DVD and will be presented on a monitor in the gallery. Another film work, Beam Drop (1984), will be shown in its original 16mm format; it documents the free fall of sixty large steel I-beams into a pit of wet cement to form a massive permanent sculpture.
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