Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition by Chris Burden. Invited by the gallery to put together a summer show, Burden has responded with a project that poses the ancient concept of yin and yang (which describes two primal opposing but complementary principles or cosmic forces said to be found in all non-static objects and processes in the universe) in relation to his long-standing obsession with machines, motor vehicles, and readymades.
Lotus, a 1973 Lotus Europa sports car, and Bulldozer, an International T6 crawler, both come from Burden’s personal collection of vehicles but they represent polar opposites. Both occupy roughly the same footprint, but the Lotus is very light (1,500 pounds) and the Bulldozer is very heavy (5,000 pounds). A fast and small sports race car, the Lotus brings to mind the conceptual ideal of the perfect race machine: a vehicle designed and built so sparsely that it is the essence of efficiency in that it wins the race, but disintegrates as soon as it crosses the finish line. It is very fragile and totally impractical. Burden rarely drives the Lotus except for taking it out for an occasional exhilarating spin. By contrast, Bulldozer is a heavy-duty farm vehicle, built like an ox—reliable, dense, and chunky. At fifty-three years old (almost the artist’s age), it is slow, yet almost unstoppable. The bulldozer is used in the everyday operations on Burden’s rural property.
Metropolis is a documentary made about Chris Burden’s sculpture of the same name, a vast and intense kinetic model of a frenetic modern city. The model city is crisscrossed by an elaborate system of Hot Wheels car roadways and Monorail train tracks. The noise of the speeding Hot Wheels cars, the continuous flow of the Monorail trains, and the random car crashes that punctuate the traffic din produce in the viewer synesthetic sensations of the real stresses and strains of living in a dynamic and bustling city. One can easily imagine the Lotus being one of the cars in Metropolis.
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