‘Extreme Measures’ Looms On The Bowery

New Museum_2013_Chris Burden_Benoit Pailley

After 2 years hovering over the Bowery Isa Genzken’s stoic rose has been retired from the New Museum‘s facade. In it’s place, Chris Burden’s Ghost Ship. The new installation by Burden is part of the Museum’s newest show, Extreme Measures, a selection of the artist’s expansive body of work, which has traversed an incredible spectrum of mediums including performance, sculpture, and installation.

The show’s namesake Extreme Measures is a succinct characterization of burden’s prolific, 40-year career: pushing material, object, and body to their maximum allowance and studying the aftermath. His early work remains some of the most controversial and influential art of the 1970s, redefining performance with Shoot in 1971, in which he was shot in his left arm by an assistant at a gallery in California, and Trans-Fixed in 1974, where he was crucified to the hood of a Volkswagen beetle. One of burden’s central motives in artistic expression is to experiment and challenge the idea of personal danger.


Shoot, 1971

Following his expansive interactive endeavors, burden began to translate his provocative aesthetic into sculpture, creating a series of ambitious work that appropriated the context of huge machinery as artwork. The Big Wheel created in 1979 had a death-defying member of the museum staff power the rotation of a three-ton cast fly wheel of a 1968 Benelli motorcycle.


The Big Wheel, 1979

Most recently, Burden’s work can be seen taking over all five floors of the new museum, including its facade. he has installed two sculptures directly onto the surface of the museum’s stacked architecture: one placed on the roof and the other fastened to its side. Crowning the building are two, massive aluminum-frame towers placed beside each other, undoubtedly resembling the World Trade Center structures. Seemingly stuck to its side, a thirty-foot handmade sailboat Ghost Ship casually rests near the entrance, which burden intended to allude to a rescue ship in the aftermath of hurricane sandy. Chris Burden: Extreme Measures will be on view from now until January 12, 2014 at the New Museum in New York.