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Chris Burden Takes ‘Extreme Measures’

The Gallerist

New York’s New Museum to open wheelie-big show of the artist’s multi-media, revved-up works.

Entitled “Chris Burden: Extreme Measures,” this New Museum show, the talk of the fall arts season, will live up to the survey’s name. It’s the first major retro of his work in 25 years. And the exhibit will overtake even the exterior of the Bowery building, which is just a few blocks from the Thompson LES.

Here’s how the Museum describes the shebang: “Spanning a forty-year career and moving across mediums, the exhibition presents a selection of Burden’s work where physical and moral limits are called into question. It will be on view from October 2nd, 2013 to January 12th, 2014.

“Occupying all five floors of the Museum, “Extreme Measures” offers an extraordinary opportunity to examine the ways in which Burden has continuously investigated the breaking point of materials, institutions, and even himself. The exhibition will also feature an ambitious installation of two iconic works on the exterior of the Museum, which will alter the visual landscape of Lower Manhattan.Two Small Skyscrapers (Quasi Legal Skyscrapers) (2003/2013), each measuring thirty-six feet in height, will be erected on the roof of the building. The two structures speak of the constantly evolving nature of the urban landscape while also evoking the lost Twin Towers.

Ghost Ship (2005), a thirty-foot double-ended vessel originally designed to sail a four-hundred-mile unmanned voyage guided by computer, will hang on the Museum’s façade like a lifeboat at the ready. Burden’s exterior sculptures will remain on view for a year as part of the New Museum’s ongoing Façade Sculpture Program.”

More: “At the New Museum, the exhibition will feature a selection of Burden’s work focused on marvels of engineering, such as buildings, vehicles, war machines, and bridges, consistently engaging with the representation of masculinity and the destructive potential latent in engineering pursuits. The Big Wheel (1979), a pivotal early work marking the artist’s transition from performance to sculpture, presents a six-thousand-pound cast-iron fly wheel that becomes activated by a motorcycle. When the motorcycle is accelerated at full throttle, the fly wheel spins to a maximum speed of two hundred rpm.”

Cool stuff!