Chris Burden - performance and installation art

Christopher Lee "Chris" Burden (April 11, 1946 – May 10, 2015) was an American artist working in performance, sculpture and installation art.Christopher Lee Burden, the son of Robert Burden, an engineer, and Rhoda Burden, a biologist, was born in Boston in 1946 and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts,France and Italy.[4] When he was 12, he endured emergency surgery — performed without anesthesia — on his left foot after having been severely injured in a motor-scooter crash on Elba; during the long convalescence that followed, he became deeply interested in visual art, particularly in photography.Burden studied for his B.A. in visual arts, physics and architecture at Pomona College and received his MFA at the University of California, Irvine – where his teachers included Robert Irwin – from 1969 to 1971





 Burden began to work in performance art in the early 1970s, he made a series of controversial performances in which the idea of personal danger as artistic expression was central.
One of Burden’s most reproduced and cited pieces, Trans-Fixed took place on April 23, 1974 at Speedway Avenue in Venice, California.For this performance, Burden lay face up on a Volkswagen Beetle and had nails hammered into both of his hands, as if he were being crucified on the car. The car was pushed out of the garage and the engine revved for two minutes before being pushed back into the garage.
Later that year, Burden performed his piece White Light/White Heat at the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York. For this work of experiment performance and self-inflicting danger, Burden spent twenty-two days lying on a triangular platform in the corner of the gallery. He was out of sight from all viewers and he could not see them either. According to Burden, he did not eat, talk, or come down the entire time







 Many of Chris Burden’s later sculptures are intricate installations and structures consisting of many small parts. A Tale of Two Cities (1981) was inspired by the artist’s fascination with war toys, bullets, model buildings, antique soldiers, and a fantasy about the twenty-fifth century—a time when he imagines the world will have returned to a system of feudal states. The room-filling miniature reconstruction of two such city-states, poised for war, incorporates 5,000 war toys from the United States, Japan, and Europe – on a 1,100-square-foot (100 m2), 20-short-ton (18 t) sand base surrounded by a “jungle” made of houseplants.The gallery-sized installation All the Submarines of the United States of America (1987) consists of 625 identical, small, handmade, painted-cardboard models that represent the entire United States submarine fleet dating from the late 1890s, when submarines entered the navy’s arsenal, to the late 1980s. He suspended the cardboard models on monofilaments from the ceiling, placing them at various heights so that as a group they appear, to be a school of fish swimming through the ocean of the gallery space. In 1992, he exhibited his Fist of Light during the Whitney Biennial exhibition in New York. It consisted of a sealed kitchen-sized metal box with hundreds of metal halide lamps burning inside. It required an industrial air conditioner to cool the room.






 Hell Gate (1998), is a 28-foot-long (8.5 m) scale model, in Erector and Meccano pieces and wood, of the dramatic steel-and-concrete railroad bridge that crosses the Hell Gate segment of the East River, between Queens and Wards Island.In 1999, Burden's sculpture When Robots Rule: The Two Minute Airplane Factory was shown at the Tate Gallery in London. It was a "factory-like assembly line which manufactures rubber-band-powered model aeroplanes from tissue paper, plastic and balsa wood". Each plane had a propellor powered by a rubber band, and when each was completed, at a rate of one every 2 minutes, the machine launched it to fly up and circle around the gallery.Unfortunately, the machine was non-functional for at least two months of the installation, leading World Sculpture News to question the intent of the piece and remark that "the work illustrated that robots, in fact, don’t rule everything, and for the time being, are still subjected to individual and groups shortcomings."





 First presented at the Istanbul Biennial in 2001, Nomadic Folly (2001) consists of a large wooden deck made of Turkish cypress and four huge umbrellas. Visitors can relax and linger in this tent-like structure, replete with opulent handmade carpets, braided ropes, hanging glass and metal lamps, and wedding fabrics embroidered with sparkling threads and traditional patterns.
In 2005, Burden released Ghost Ship, his crewless, self-navigating yacht which docked at Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 28 July after a 330-mile (530 km) 5-day trip from Fair Isle, near Shetland. The project was commissioned by Locus+ at a cost of £150,000, and was funded with a significant grant from Arts Council England,being designed and constructed with the help of the Marine Engineering Department of the University of Southampton. It is said to be controlled via onboard computers and a GPS system; however, in case of emergency the ship is 'shadowed' by an accompanying support boat.In 2008, Burden created Urban Light, a sculptural work consisting of 202 found antique street lights that had once stood around Los Angeles. He bought the lights from the contractor who installed Urban Light, Anna Justice.The work is on view outside of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the solar-powered lights are illuminated at dusk.Wikipedia




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