Chris Burden, who was he? He was a contemporary American artist, defined as one of the leading performance artists: right like that, in fact, began his artistic career, with a performance, Shoot, where one of his assistants shot his left arm with a rifle from about five meters away, in California. Burden called it a mental experience, a reflection on the knowledge that at a precise time, like a date, someone would fire him. It was 1971.

Since that first performance many more actions of Chris Burden happened, some of them aimed to test the resistance of the human body, experimenting physical pain. Controversial, no doubt.

One of his best known works is the one installed at the main entrance of LACMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles: Urban Light, 2008, consists of 202 oldfashioned streetlights, that light up at night creating a sense of urgency and weirdness, although in Los Angeles arouse such emotions is almost impossible.

In New York on the facade of the New Museum, the work Ghost Ship (2005) is still exposed, a boat installed in 2013 on the occasion of “Extreme Measures,” the largest exhibition dedicated to the artist in the United States.

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chris burden


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