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Documentation of Selected Works 1971-74

1971-1975 Chris Burden Born: Boston, Massachusetts 1946 Died: Topanga, California 2015 single-channel video, color and black and white, sound; 34:38 minutes Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase made possible by the Ford Motor Company © 1975, Chris Burden 2007.33.11 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

The relative domestic peace of the 1950s was shattered in the wake of the Watts Riots and the escalation of the Vietnam War, as national television broadcast protests, rage, wounded veterans, and body bags directly into American living rooms. Chris Burden’s radical “performance pieces” of the early 1970s were provocative and monstrously raw physical responses to the social and political moment. He placed himself in solitary confinement, lying down in traffic, encircling himself with fire, allowing himself to be shot, dragging himself across shards of glass, and attempting to breathe water. These actions were performed live, in front of spectator-participants, but they were also captured through still photographs, video, and film, the primary languages of mass media. Documentation of Selected Works 1971-74 compiles Burden’s deliberate struggles to repossess his own body in relation to exercises of power and self-determination.


Watch This!: Revelations in Media Art, 2015

Keywords

media arts

About Chris Burden

Born: Boston, Massachusetts 1946 Died: Topanga, California 2015