Tag Archive | Chris Burden

Chris Burden’s Metropolis II at LACMA

LACMA Chris Burden Metropolis 2 Overhead View
Photo By Gail

While I was at the LA County Museum of Art this past December to see the Stanley Kubrick retrospective, I also enjoyed the experience of stumbling upon Chris Burden’s room-sized kinetic sculpture, Metropolis II – the focal points of which are 1,100 Hot Wheels cars.

Burden finished this scale cityscape, which took four years to build, in the Summer of 2011 and it was installed at LACMA that Fall. Although you can walk completely around Metropolis II from the floor of the exhibit room, you really need to climb the stairs to the catwalk-like balcony to see the action from above and fully appreciate what Burden was trying to convey. The frenetic movement of the tiny cars is hypnotizing.

In a statement at the exhibit’s opening, Burden expressed his hypothesis that, “The future of automobile transportation is that there won’t be drivers anymore.” The 1,100 customized Hot Wheels cars whirring through a city of building-block skyscrapers is a scale model of Burden’s vision for L.A.’s future: Cars that are swiftly autopiloted along pre-determined routes, moving ten times faster than they do today.

The cars are dramatically lifted eight feet in the air by a magnetized conveyor belt, then dispatched through the city on a roller coaster network of plastic roadways. The buildings are constructed with Legos and Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets and stacking slotted cards. A dozen out-of-the-box electric trains chug casually through the sculpture.

Due to the physical strain on both the sculpture and the fact that it must be physically monitored at all times to watch for “pileups,” Metropolis II runs for only one hour at a time, with a one hour break between sessions, from Friday through Sunday. The viewing schedule is below and no reservations are required:

Fridays
11:30–12:30 PM; 1:30–2:30 PM; 3:30–4:30 PM; 5:30–6:30 PM

Saturdays & Sundays
10:30 am–11:30 PM; 12:30–1:30 PM; 2:30–3:30 PM; 4:30–5:30 PM

LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90036.

Advertisements

Urban Light By Chris Burden at LACMA

Chris Burden LACMA Street Lamps Installation
Urban Light, 2008, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Sculpture, (Two-hundred and two) restored cast iron antique street lamps (Photos By Gail)

Link to Original Text Source

This forest of city street lights, called Urban Light, was created by artist Chris Burden. Despite initial appearances, the arrangement is not a perfect grid. Depending on where the viewer stands, the lamps arrange themselves in different angles and arrays.

These 202 cast iron lamps once lit the streets of Los Angeles. Burden bought one at the Rose Bowl flea market, and soon collecting and restoring street lights became an obsession. He painted them all the same neutral gray, in order to draw the eye to all the different varieties of cast iron decoration.

Burden says that street lamps like these were symbols of a civilized and sophisticated city; safe after dark and beautiful to behold. The lights all still work, and they are now powered by solar energy. They are switched on every night from dusk until dawn. At night, Burden says his sculpture becomes transformed into “a building with a roof of light.
Urban Light By Chris Burden at LACMA