Los Angeles, California, USA;
January 5, 1973.
“At about 8 am on a beach near the Los Angeles International Airport, I fired several shots with a pistol at a Boeing 747.”
F Space, Santa Ana California, USA;
November 19, 1971.
“At 7:45 pm I was shot in the left arm by a friend. The bullet was a copper jacket .22 long rifle. My friend was standing about 15 feet from me.”
“Fire Roll”, 1973
Museum Of Conceptual Art, San Francisco, California, USA;
February 28, 1973.
“I began the evening watching television, smoking and drinking beer. The other artists were preparing their pieces. People were filling the museum and my activity went almost unnoticed. After about an hour I got up and went around the room turning off all the lights. I had a pair of old pants which had been passed around by many of my friends. I placed the pants on the floor and saturated them in lighter fluid. I lit the pants on fire and extinguished the flames with my body. I turned on the lights and returned to watching television.”
“Shout Piece”, 1971
F Space, Santa Ana, California, USA;
August 21, 1971.
“I was seated on a platform suspended 14 feet above the floor. My hair was braided and my face was covered with red body paint. Four 500 watt movie lights were placed around me facing the front entrance of the space. My voice was amplified by three speakers. As people entered the gallery, I repeatedly yelled at them ‘get the fuck out, get out immediately.’ Because the sound was very loud and contained high frequency feedback, most people left quickly.”
Chris Burden is a seminal figure in contemporary art. His performances in the 1970’s redefined the possibilities of the medium; his subsequent sculpture and installations have extended the limits of the physical in art. From the celebrated early performances such as “Shoot” (1971), in which he was shot in the arm by a friend, to later monumental sculptures such as “Urban Light” (2005), a re-contextualization of the 1920’s Los Angeles street lamps, Burden has continually challenged the relationship of artist and viewer to the work, subverting ideas of what artists do and say. Whether pushing himself to the extremes of pain and discomfort, creating scale models of bridges from Meccano, building fuel-efficient vehicles or crew-less ships, or flying steamrollers through the air, he attempted to transcend the physical and explore the psychological impact of actions and objects in the world.