(1946 – 2015), USA

Chris Burden Biography

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).

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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. 

Chris Burden Featured Artworks

Tower of London Bridge by Chris Burden contemporary artwork sculpture
Chris Burden Tower of London Bridge, 2003 Stainless steel reproduction Mysto type I Erector parts
76 x 244 x 30.5 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Big Pointy #3 by Chris Burden contemporary artwork photography
Chris Burden Big Pointy #3, 2006 Farb polaroid
50.8 x 60.96 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Porsche with Meteorite by Chris Burden contemporary artwork installation
Chris Burden Porsche with Meteorite, 2013 Restored 1974 Porsche 914 , 390 pound meteorite, steel structure
Gagosian Contact Gallery

Chris Burden Recent Exhibitions

Chris Burden Represented By

Gagosian contemporary art gallery in 980 Madison Avenue, New York, USA
Gagosian Athens, Basel, Beverly Hills, Geneva, Gstaad +6

Chris Burden In Ocula Magazine

Chris Burden In Related Press

Deluxe Photo Book Related Press Deluxe Photo Book 2 November 2019, Gagosian Quarterly

In 1974, [Chris Burden][0] released his Deluxe Photo Book 1971-73, a self-published catalogue of twenty-three early performances represented by concise narrative descriptions of the works coupled wi

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A documentary tribute to Chris Burden’s extreme oeuvre Related Press A documentary tribute to Chris Burden’s extreme oeuvre 21 April 2016, Hyperallergic

Perhaps most surprising about the new film Burden, directed by Timothy Marrinan and Richard Dewey and screening at the Tribeca Film Festival, is its depiction of artist Chris Burden’s dramatic transformation from a rabble-rousing student in the 1970s to a mild-mannered landowner in 2014. The film explores Burden’s oeuvre project by...

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Mind the gap: Gagosian New York presents a host of Chris Burden's bridges Related Press Mind the gap: Gagosian New York presents a host of Chris Burden's bridges 8 February 2016, Wallpaper*

When New York City's New Museum staged its 2013 retrospective for the late sculptor Chris Burden, some of the most arresting pieces of work were several intricately realised bridge constructions that debuted during the show. While those structures spanned the width of the room, a selection of Burden’s small-scale bridges is currently...

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Chris Burden dies at 69: artist's light sculpture at LACMA is symbol of L.A. Related Press Chris Burden dies at 69: artist's light sculpture at LACMA is symbol of L.A. 12 May 2015, The LA Times

When he had himself shot in the arm for a performance piece at a Santa Ana gallery, Chris Burden became fleetingly famous. But years later, when he created such outsized, imagination-charged works as Urban Light, the ranks of vintage lampposts tightly arrayed outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, he left a longer-lasting legacy.

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