Chris Burden (1946-2015) received his BFA from Pomona College in Claremont, California and his MFA from University of California, Irvine. He was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and has had major retrospectives at Newport Harbor Art Museum in Newport Beach, California and MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna. He was chosen to participate in the 48th Venice Biennale (1999) and taught for many years at UCLA. He is represented by Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills.
Burden’s reputation as a legend in the art world began in the early 70’s with controversial performance pieces. Prime examples were where he: had a friend shoot him in the arm with a rifle (Shoot, 1971); had a friend kick him down two flights of stairs at the Basel Art Fair (Kunst Kick, 1974); and was crucified on a VW bug (Trans-fixed, 1974).
Burden went on to create large-scale installations which reveal the many facets of one of the most interesting and talented artists alive today — inventor, engineer, mad scientist, toy collector and collector of whatever else sparks his interest. Recent projects include What My Dad Gave Me, a 65-foot skyscraper made out of Erector Set parts (installed in front of the Rockefeller Center in New York City); Urban Light, a collection of 202 vintage Los Angeles streetlamps which Burden spent years collecting and restoring and are now permanently installed at the Los Angeles County Museum; and Metropolis II, which is also destined for LACMA, where 1100 toy cars zoom along mini-freeways through an immense, dense, colorful cityscape.
The piece which Burden created for The Frostig Collection, Two World War I Tanks, reflects the artist’s fascination with war toys and tanks in particular. Collectors will recognize the rarity of being able to own a Chris Burden sculpture; he rarely works on a small scale. Burden also designed the clever box which houses the toy tanks in its bottom layer; the lid flips over to display them, as if they are climbing out of the box.
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