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Artists Chris Burden

Chris Burden

American Sculptor and Performance Artist

Chris Burden Photo
Movements and Styles: Performance Art, Conceptual Art

Born: April 11, 1946 - Boston, Massachusetts

Died: May 10, 2015 - Topanga, California

"I had an intuitive sense that being shot is as American as apple pie. We see people being shot on TV, we read about it in the newspaper. Everybody has wondered what it's like. So I did it."

Synopsis

Chris Burden has produced some of the most shocking works in the history of twentieth century American art, including spending five days and nights in the fetal position inside a locker, having a spectator push pins into his body, being "crucified" to a Volkswagen Beetle, being kicked down two flights of stairs, and even having himself shot. The challenge for viewers is to try to understand such troubling and seemingly "inartistic" gestures. Such an understanding is made possible by seeing these works within the context of Conceptual art during the 1970s, where artists concerned themselves with art based on ideas and action rather than objects created for an elite art market. Additionally, the violent images of the war in Vietnam and the television media in general provided a background setting for Burden. His work further challenges viewers to take stock of their own moral compasses and widen their understanding of the ways in which it is possible for art to serve humanity.

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