Chris Burden

      
THE MASTER BUILDER

Chris Burden, Victoria Falls Bridge

Chris Burden, Victoria Falls Bridge, 2003, Stainless steel reproduction Mysto Type I Erector parts, wood base. Photo by Douglas Parker, courtesy of Chris Burden Studio.

In his pioneering performances of the 1970s, Los Angeles-based artist Chris Burden (b. 1946) gained a reputation for testing limits: of his own body, and of institutions and publics variously implicated in his provocative actions. Both beautiful and extreme, iconic performances like Shoot (1971), TV Hijack (1972), and Transfixed (1974) forced viewers to confront the most pressing moral and political issues of the day through allegory and metaphor.  Burden considered these early performances live sculptures in space. Beginning in the late-1970s, his interests turned from these live sculpture events and towards the production of permanent three-dimensional objects. 

CHRIS BURDEN: THE MASTER BUILDER presents a near comprehensive account of Burden’s small-scale Erector set bridges.  Modeled after bridges imagined and real, the artist’s Erector set sculptures extend his work as a social engineer, demonstrating his dual commitment to empirical and symbolic inquiry.  Burden’s bridges are constructed from vintage and reproduced Meccano and Erector parts, perforated metal construction toys first marketed at the start of the 20th century. As part of The Master Builder, Burden is constructing a two-story Erector set skyscraper that will be installed in the museum in April.

In addition to this exhibition, the Rose has commissioned Chris Burden to create a permanent, outdoor sculpture for the museum’s front lawn entitled Light of Reason, which will be completed in fall 2014.