I don't usually consider myself an obsessive individual, but when it comes to art, I have found myself occasionally a devotee. This is the case with Chris Burden's newish installation at LACMA in Los Angeles. Rather than verbalize my fascination, I simply recorded it, and then celebrated it in my own 'art video'. Well, I didn't just record it once. I shot on three separate occasions until I felt I had captured the essence of Metropolis II. In fact, I could continue to shoot, find new angles and new approaches to what is, in my opinion, a masterpiece. This is a work that is at once playful and deadly serious. Burden lures us in with his tremendous feat of engineering, the daring miniaturization, and the childish appeal of tiny cars in tiny worlds. But then as the marvel sinks in, we find ourselves propelled into an altered state, into a state of supreme anxiety... Is this what we have become?
If you are unaware of Burden's ouevre - it may startle you to discover that he first gained notoriety back in the seventies when he engaged in some provocative and dangerous performance works. Having himself crucified to the roof of a Volkswagon bug, being shot in the arm in a gallery installation... that sort of thing. What I truly admire about Burden is that he has transformed himself, as an artist, throughout the span of his career. He has changed his methods, from the intimate to the grandly dramatic, but has consistently produced works that challenge his viewers and make major statements about the nature of society.