chris burden: extreme measures at new museum
 
chris burden: extreme measures at new museum
oct 05, 2013

chris burden: extreme measures at new museum

 

 

new museum, new york presents ‘extreme measures’ by chris burden: a selection of the artist’s expansive body of work, which has traversed an incredible spectrum of mediums including performance, sculpture, and installation. thematically, the exhibition focuses on boundaries and constraints, and the point at which physical and moral limits are called into question. the show’s namesake ‘extreme measures’ is a succinct characterization of burden’s prolific, 40-year career: pushing material, object, and body to their maximum allowance and studying the aftermath. his early work remains some of the most controversial and influential art of the 1970s, redefining performance with ‘shoot’ in 1971, in which he was shot in his left arm by an assistant at a gallery in california, and ‘trans-fixed’ in 1974, where he was crucified to the hood of a volkswagen beetle. one of burden’s central motives in artistic expression is to experiment and challenge the idea of personal danger. 

chris burden: extreme measures at new museum
‘chris burden: extreme measures’ at new museum, new york, 2013
courtesy new museum, new york. photo: benoit pailley

 

 

following his expansive interactive endeavors, burden began to translate his provocative aesthetic into sculpture, creating a series of ambitious work that appropriated the context of huge machinery as artwork. ‘the big wheel’ created in 1979 had a death-defying member of the museum staff power the rotation of a three-ton cast fly wheel of a 1968 benelli motorcycle. ‘beam drop’, iterated most recently at inhotim, brazil (see designboom’s coverage of artwork here) is a structural assembly of steel I-beams that had been dropped from a height of 45 meters by a construction crane into a three meter-deep wet concrete pit.  

chris burden: extreme measures at new museum
‘chris burden: extreme measures’ at new museum, new york, 2013
courtesy new museum, new york. photo: benoit pailley

 

 

most recently, burden’s work can be seen taking over all five floors of the new museum, including its facade. he has installed two sculptures directly onto the surface of the museum’s stacked architecture: one placed on the roof and the other fastened to its side. crowning the building are two, massive aluminum-frame towers placed beside each other, undoubtedly resembling the world trade center structures. seemingly stuck to its side, a thirty-foot handmade sailboat ‘ghost ship’ casually rests near the entrance, which burden intended to allude to a rescue ship in the aftermath of hurricane sandy. even through non-performance, burden responds with an extreme reinterpretation of the contemporary art museum’s already exaggerated engineering, demonstrating his ever-present eagerness to provoke and defy. 

chris burden: extreme measures at new museum
chris burden
ghost ship, 2005
thirty-foot handmade sixern sailboat, computers and software, hydraulics, global positioning system, auto rudder, rigging; mast
360 in (914.4 cm); overall: 72 x 102 x 360 in (182.9 x 259 x 914.4 cm)
courtesy the artist and gagosian gallery, photo: chris burden

chris burden: extreme measures at new museum
‘chris burden: extreme measures’ at new museum, new york, 2013
courtesy new museum, new york. photo: benoit pailley 

chris burden: extreme measures at new museum
chris burden
three arch dry stack bridge, ¼ scale, 2013
974 hand-cast concrete blocks, wood base
45 ½ × 331 × 21 in (115.5 × 840.7 × 53.3 cm)
image courtesy the artist

 

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