Burden’s epoch-defining work has made him one of the most important American artists to emerge since 1970. Spanning a forty-year career and moving across mediums, “Extreme Measures” presents a selection of Burden’s work focused on weights and measures, boundaries and constraints, where physical and moral limits are called into question.
Over the past four decades, Burden has created a unique and powerful body of work that has redefined the way we understand both performance and sculpture. Startling at the time, his early works remain some of the most extreme and influential performances of the era, inspiring younger artists through his radical approach not only to the body but also to issues within a larger sociopolitical context. In the 1980s, he began a series of ambitious sculptures of increasing size and complexity using materials common to childhood playtime activities (such as Erector sets, toy soldiers, model train sets, toy vehicles, and construction models) to create miniaturized yet still monumental reconstructions of structures and environments. These works diagram dense political and historical relationships, and register the depth of our mechanical and technological imagination.
Chris Burden, Trans-fixed, 1974. Performance on Speedway Avenue, Venice, California, April 23, 1974. Photo: Courtesy the artist and Gagosian Gallery
Occupying all five floors of the Museum, “Extreme Measures” offers an extraordinary opportunity to examine the ways in which Burden has continuously investigated the breaking point of materials, institutions, and even himself. The exhibition also features an ambitious installation on the exterior of the Museum.
“Chris Burden: Extreme Measures” is organized by Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director, with Massimiliano Gioni, Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions, Jenny Moore, Associate Curator (until July 2013), and Margot Norton, Assistant Curator. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue including essays by scholars Thomas Crow, Amelia Jones, Guy Nordenson, ￼and Johanna Burton, and artists Oscar Tuazon, Matthew Day Jackson, and Tom Marioni, among others.
Chris Burden (b. 1946 Boston, MA) attended Pomona College and received his MFA from the University of California in 1971. He had a retrospective exhibition (organized by Paul Schimmel) at the Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA, in 1988 and at MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, in 1996. His work was presented in the 48th Venice Biennale and at the Tate Gallery in 1999. In 2008, the Public Art Fund presented WHAT MY DAD GAVE ME, one of his skyscraper sculptures, at Rockefeller Center in New York City.