These four gelatin silver print photographs: 747, Bed Piece, and Prelude to 220 or 110(4) date from 1971–1973, a notable phase in Burden’s career when he created some of his most seminal work. Bed Piece documents a memorable performance in which the artist lay in a bed in an otherwise empty gallery for 22 days. Initially experienced as a tortuous confinement, Burden came to enjoy the performance after a few days.
We at LAMA were saddened to hear of Chris Burden’s passing yesterday morning, Sunday May 10, in Los Angeles. Since 1969 Burden lived in Southern California–first he studied at Pomona College in Claremont, and then he received his MFA from the University of California, Irvine. With a familial and childhood background in science and engineering, and having studied courses in architecture at Pomona College, Burden went on to make big, powerful, and sometimes kinetic installations. In LACMA’s entry plaza stands Urban Light (2008), 202 antique cast-iron street lamps in the form of a Classical Greek temple. It has become a much-beloved symbol of the city. Los Angeles will miss Chris Burden.