Today is the one year anniversary of Chris Burden’s death from melanoma at the age of 69. I’ve been thinking a lot about Burden lately; there have been few artists capable of producing work that retains such a visceral punch no matter how often it’s been seen. Watching decades-old documentation of, or even reading about, Burden’s limit-testing performances still elicits a sense of suspense. Burden desperately wanted to shock his audience into feeling something. He was a polarising figure, but there’s no doubt that he succeeded.
So today, head to the New Museum and look up at “Ghost Ship”. Chris Burden might have disembarked on his final journey, but a piece of his frontier-pushing spirits still floats over the Bowery, for the time being.
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