Chris Burden

CHRIS BURDEN, Holmby Hills Light Folly, 2012, mixed media, dimensions variable, installation at Art | Basel Parcours 2014. Photo by J. Searles

Chris Burden Listed Exhibitions (112 Kb)
Chris Burden Bibliography (113 Kb)

Chris Burden was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1946. He moved to the California in 1965 and obtained a B.F.A at Pomona College, Claremont, California in 1969 and later a M.F.A at the University of California in 1971. During the early seventies, Burden’s first mature works were characterized by the idea that the truly important, viable art of the future would not be with objects; the things that you could simply sell and hang on your wall.  Instead art would be ephemeral and address political, social, environmental and technological change. Burden, with his shockingly simple, unforgettable, "here and now" performances shook the conventional art world and took this new art form to its extreme. The images of Burden that continue to resonate in public mind are of a young man who had himself shot (Shoot, 1971), locked up (Five Day Locker Piece, 1971), electrocuted, (Doorway to Heaven, 1973), cut (Through the Night Softly, 1973), crucified (Trans-fixed, 1974), and advertised on television (4 TV Ads, 1937–77).

His work has subsequently shifted, focusing now on monumental sculptures and large scale installations, such as B-Car, 1975, The Big Wheel, 1979, A Tale of Two Cities, 1981, Beam Drop, 1984, Samson, 1985, Medusa’s Head, 1990, L.A.P.D. Uniforms, 1993, Urban Light, 2008 and Metropolis II, 2010. These works often reflect the social environments, make observations about cultural institutions, and examine the boundaries of science and technology.

Chris Burden works and lives in California and has been represented by Gagosian Gallery since 1991. He has had major retrospectives at the Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, California (1988) and the MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna (1996). In 1999 Burden exhibited at the 48th Venice Biennale and the Tate Gallery in London. And in the summer of 2008, Burden’s 65 foot tall skyscraper made of one million Erecter set parts, titled What My Dad Gave Me, stood in front of Rockefeller Center, New York City. Burden’s installations and sculptures, which have been exhibited all over the world, have continually challenged viewers’ beliefs and attitudes about art and the contemporary world.