Chris Burden, 'One of the greatest American artists of his generation'

The creator of 'Light of Reason,' a permanent installation outside the Rose Art Museum, died May 10 at 69

Photo/Mike Lovett

Chris Bedford and Chris Burden at the inaugural lighting of "Light of Reason" in September 2014.

Iconic performance artist and sculptor Chris Burden died Sunday at 69. Burden left a lasting impression on the Brandeis campus with “Light of Reason,” a permanent installation of antique streetlights outside the Rose Art Museum that was commissioned by the university and completed in 2014.  

Chris Bedford, the Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, had the following to say about Burden’s legacy and the person he was:

“That Chris will go down one of the greatest American artists of his generation is self-evident to all of us,” Bedford said.  “A less well-known fact is how gentle, kind and caring he was.  The bold artist responsible for 'Shoot' is the same man who took great care of all those fortunate enough to work with him, me included.  He'll be sorely missed.” 

The 24 streetlights in the “Light of Reason” shine brightly at night, and the installation serves as a gateway connecting the Rose Art Museum to the rest of the Brandeis campus. 

“'Light of Reason' has become quickly iconic as a symbol of Brandeis and the Rose.  It is a meeting point for students, a space for reflection, and a site for live events,” Bedford said. “From his early performances on, Chris was a social sculptor. 'Light of Reason' is a masterful expression of that commitment.” 

Burden was born in Boston and based in Los Angeles.

Categories: Alumni, Arts

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