The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Chris Burden Day


‘An efficient test of where you stand on contemporary art is whether you are persuaded, or persuadable, that Chris Burden is a good artist. I think he’s pretty great. Burden is the guy who, on November 19, 1971, in Santa Ana, California, produced a classic, or an atrocity (both, to my mind), of conceptual art by getting shot. “Shoot” survives in desultory black-and-white photographs with this description: “At 7:45 P.M. I was shot in the left arm by a friend. The bullet was a copper jacket .22 long rifle. My friend was standing about fifteen feet from me.” Why do such things? “I wanted to be taken seriously as an artist,” Burden explained, when I visited him recently at his studio in a brushy glen of Topanga Canyon, where he lives with his wife, the sculptor Nancy Rubins.

‘“Shoot” was one of a number of perfectly repellent performance pieces of the early nineteen-seventies in which Burden subjected himself to danger, thereby creating a double bind, for viewers, between the citizenly injunction to intervene in crises and the institutional taboo against touching art works. (Such, at any rate, was my analysis of the distinctive nausea that I felt in thinking of those things, which I avoided witnessing in person.) He spent five days in a small locker, with a bottle of water above and a bottle for urine below; slithered, nearly naked and with his hands held behind him, across fifty feet of broken glass in a parking lot; had his hands nailed to the roof of a Volkswagen; was kicked down a flight of stairs; and, on different occasions, incurred apparent risks of burning, drowning, and electrocution.

‘Usually performed for small audiences, these events became word-of-mouth sensations on a radically minded grapevine in art schools, new contemporary museums, and grant-funded alternative spaces—an emerging academy of the far out. Anti-commercial sentiments held sway in those circles, although not altogether heroically, given the concurrent slump in the art market and the flow of patronage from such sources as the National Endowment for the Arts. (Between 1974 and 1983, Burden received four N.E.A. grants.) Earthworks, executed in remote locations, were the conceptual art that came closest to being popular. They had in common with Burden’s performances the fact that almost nobody saw them, except by way of documentation. The avant-gardism of the time wasn’t only reliant on publicity; it was effectively about the mediums of information—specialized magazines, insider gossip—through which it became known. Burden strummed the network like a lyre.

‘He was immediately taken very seriously, as the most extreme and enigmatic of provocateurs in a subculture that, in highly educated ways, reflected the political disarray of the nation during the seemingly eternal Vietnam War, and prefigured the swing-barrelled rage of punk. By 1977, he had created performance pieces in two dozen American and European cities. They constituted a theatre of passive-aggressive cruelty. For one, in 1972, in Newport Beach, he sat immobile in a chair, wearing dark glasses, facing two cushions and an inviting box of marijuana cigarettes. Visitors naturally assumed that he was watching them, but the insides of his glasses were painted black, and he refused to speak. He reported, in his record of the work, “Many people tried to talk to me, one assaulted me and one left sobbing hysterically.” Plainly, Burden was not in sympathy with his supposed community.

‘After late seventies, Burden specialized in one-off wonders like “A Tale of Two Cities” (whose details yield a wealth of technological and social history) and insouciant engineering feats like “Hell Gate,” as well as technological stunts involving self-designed cars, boats, and laboratory equipment. (He reconstructed a primitive early television and a nineteenth-century apparatus for measuring the speed of light.) Some works had political content, such as a chilling response to Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial: three million Vietnamese names, symbolizing the native dead of that war, engraved on hinged copper panels. (Made in 1991, it belongs to Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.) Others were hoots: a rubber-band-powered model plane launched in the aisle of a Concorde in flight, to attain a ground speed of Mach 2.05 plus ten miles per hour. (Burden sells relics of such actions; in this instance, the little plane mounted in a glass case.) In his studio, he showed me a work in progress: parts of what will be a huge model city crisscrossed by roller-coasters of hundreds of track-racing toy cars. The cars will run continuously, until they wear out, at the equivalent, for their size, of well over a hundred miles an hour. (A smaller version, shown in 2004 in Kanazawa, Japan, provoked acute anxiety in its viewers, Burden remarked happily.) There is an inevitable slackness, conceptually, to these works, which colonize the “free spot” that Burden’s daring carved out. The history of the avant-garde comes down to this: a boyish gimcracker diverting us by diverting himself. Worse things have happened.’ — The New Yorker






Shoot, 1971
‘At 7:45 p.m. I was shot in the left arm by a friend’. — Chris Burden



Match Piece, 1972
‘Chris Burden’s performance took place in the large room on the right side of the gallery. Most of the floor was covered by white butcher paper, with a space near the entrance left for the audience to occupy. The whiteness of the paper, reflecting the whites of the walls and ceiling, created an all-white space. The performance began a little after eight o’clock and the activity of the piece got under way before the audience was allowed to enter. At that moment Burden was kneeling directly on the floor, with his right side facing the audience, toward the back of the space. He was wearing a white T-shirt, off-white Levi’s, no belt and bare feet. He stared intently at two tiny black, transistorized black-and-white TV sets that sat side by side in front of him. At least one TV was on throughout the whole performance, with sound. Burden periodically switched from one to the other, or had both going at once. The sound was quite loud. About ten or fifteen feet away, between him and the audience, a naked girl lay on her back with her eyes closed and hands at her side. As he watched the TVs the artist was wrapping aluminum foil around the heads of matches and heating them until they lit. The jet pressure caused by igniting the match heads shot them into the air, and he used a makeshift launcher made from two bent paperclips to fire these little missiles in the direction of the girl. The direction and distance the matches flew varied greatly and did not seem very accurately controllable by Burden. In all probability fewer than fifteen matches hit the girl. When hit by the hot matches she usually flinched, and when one landed directly on her she swept it off. The average range of the cardboard matches was about the distance to the girl while the wooden ones were more powerful and more difficult to control. Many of them misfired, but a few flew forcefully into the audience space. Because Burden prepared and fired each match separately the overall pace was very slow, about one match per minute. The artist at no time showed any interest in the audience or the girl. His face had the sort of unself-conscious and disinterested expression one might expect from someone who was alone. He looked calm and absorbed in what he was doing.’ — East of Borneo



Bed Piece, 1972
‘A young man stripped to his underwear, climbed into bed, and stayed there for twenty-two days. In a large white room with a bare floor, the single bed is pushed against the far wall. Chris Burden, aged twenty-five, wears a white singlet and pulls the white bed-covers up to his armpits. He hasn’t given any instructions to Josh, who soon devises a pattern of providing food and water and taking care of Chris’ toilet needs. The temperature is fairly constant and mild, but Chris sometimes shivers or sweats.’ — National Portrait Gallery



747, 1973
‘At about 8 am at a beach house near the Los Angeles International Airport, I fired several shots with a pistol at a Boeing 747’. — Chris Burden



Through The Night Softly, 1973
‘By buying ten seconds of television advertisement time on a local Los Angeles channel and using it to show, without any comment, an excerpt from Through the Night Softly, 1973, in which Burden, nearly naked, crawled through fifty feet of broken glass, the artist brilliantly subverted commercial television.’ — Middelheim Museum



17:18 – 19:37

Icarus, 1973
‘At 6 p.m. three invited spectators came to my studio. The room was fifteen feet by twenty-five feet and well lit by natural light. Wearing no clothes, I entered the space from a small room at the back. Two assistants lifted onto each shoulder one end of six foot sheets of plate glass. The sheets sloped onto the floor at right angles from my body. The assistants poured gasoline down the sheets of glass. Stepping back, they threw matches to ignite the gasoline. After a few seconds I jumped up, sending the burning glass crashing to the floor. I walked into the back room.’ — Chris Burden



Trans-Fixed, 1974
‘In 1974, performance artist Chris Burden was nailed to the back of a Volkswagen Beetle, which was pushed out of a garage, the engine revved for two minutes, and then pushed back into the garage.’ — wtfarthistory



28:54 – 34:57

Velvet Water, 1974
‘In Velvet Water Chris Burden repeatedly inhaled water and broadcast his self-torture to a remote audience.’ — artsy.net



C.B.T.V., 1977
‘In this work, Chris Burden recreated and demonstrated John L. Baird’s original apparatus – the first television. Burden says, “I believe that, as a technological invention, television is of extreme significance as it is a most successful solution to man’s historic desire to ‘see beyond’ his immediate surroundings, and it has made instant visual communication possible. As technology becomes more and more complex, fewer and fewer people have any understanding of how anything really works. By reduplicating and demonstrating television in its original mechanical and relatively simple form, I hope to enable people to understand the principle behind today’s electronic television.”‘ — Ronald Feldman Gallery



The Big Wheel, (1979)
Three-ton, eight-foot diameter, cast-iron flywheel powered by a 1968 Benelli 250cc motorcycle, 112 × 175 × 143 inches.



The Reason for the Neutron Bomb, 1979,
50,000 nickels and 50,000 matchsticks, 30 ft. 8 in x 17 ft. 6 in.



A Tale of Two Cities, 1981
‘Burden’s A Tale of Two Cities is an installation of 5,000 toys set up on a sand and coral landscape, showing two cities at war. Since it was conceived in 1981, however, it has fallen into ruin, so much so that Burden wanted to just get rid of the thing once and for all and blow the motherf**ker up. According to Burden, such an act would just change the state of the work: “That was more metaphoric—I was trying to illustrate the fluid nature of the work. The work of art would still exist, but it would be rubble.” Conservators at the Orange County Museum of Art in California, the institution that purchased A Tale of Two Cities in 1987, were able to convince Burden to let them fix the decaying piece.’ — Complex



The Flying Kayak, 1982
‘It consists of a fabric-covered frame in the shape of a little one-person boat. it hangs suspended about four feet above the gallery floor on three thin but sturdy steel cables. The kayak is unusual because it possesses a tail assembly reminiscent of a glider plane. Its vertical member can be moved with a foot pedal inside the kayak. Wing-like horizontals are controlled by handy hand levers. Several large fans are set in motion behind and one soars into a tame blue yonder consisting of a film-loop of sky projected on the wall ahead.’ — William Wilson



Samson, 1985
‘A museum installation consisting of a 100-ton jack connected to a gear box and a turnstile. The 100-ton jack pushes two large timbers against the bearing walls of the museum. Each visitor to the museum must pass through the turnstile in order to see the exhibition. Each input on the turnstile ever so slightly expands the jack, and ultimately if enough people visit the exhibition, SAMSON could theoretically destroy the building. Like a glacier, its powerful movement is imperceptible to the naked eye. This sculptural installation subverts the notion of the sanctity of the Museum (the shed that houses the art).’ — Zwirner & Wurth



Exposing the Foundation of the Museum, 1986
‘ Chris Burden dug three large trenches in one corner of the Museum Of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, exposing the dirt and rock underneath the modern museum floor. Underneath the posturing and pretense of the art world, underneath our amazing ability to create art, these trenches looked like beautiful altars where one could contemplate spirituality, sensuality, art or dirt! Video after the jump.’ — Sam Phillips



Medusa’s Head, 1990
Plywood, steel, cement, rock, model railroad trains and tracks, 14′ (426.7 cm) in diameter.



L.A.P.D. Uniforms, 1993.
Wool serge, metal, leather, wood, plastic, Berretta handguns, …



Nomadic Folly, 2001
Wood Platform, 4 Cloth and Metal Umbrellas, Woven Carpets, Braided Ropes and Pillows, Silken Fabrics, Glass and Metal Lamps, and CD Player & Speakers, 11 1/2 × 20 × 20 in, 29.2 × 50.8 × 50.8 cm



Gold Bullets , 2003
10 gold bullets and 2 wood Plexiglas vitrines, 6 1/4 × 10 1/4 × 5 3/4 in



Ghost Ship, 2005
‘On 20th June 2005, Ghost Ship, a crewless self-navigating sailing ship set sail from Fair Isle in remote north-eastern Scotland on an eight-day voyage to Newcastle upon Tyne. Audiences were able to track the boats progress via a live, daily updated website.’ — collaged



The Flying Steamroller, 2006
‘A steamroller was connected to a large, counterbalanced pivot arm. When driven at speed the streamroller left the ground, centrifugally flying.’ — MoMA



What My Dad Gave Me, 2008
Appx. 1,000 stainless steel reproduction Mysty Type I Erector parts, nuts and bolts
65′ x 11′ 2″ x 11′ 3″ (19.8 x 3.4 x 3.4 m)



Beam Drop, 2008
‘Part-installation and part-performance, “Beam Drop,” involves hoisting steel I-beams high up in the air with a crane and then dropping them climactically into a pit of wet concrete. Burden does not know exactly where his I-beams will fall, so “Beam Drop” forms by chance. Burden relies on a crane to randomly place the I-beams.’ — Complex



Metropolis II, 2011
‘Chris Burden’s Metropolis II is an intense kinetic sculpture, modeled after a fast paced, frenetic modern city. Steel beams form an eclectic grid interwoven with an elaborate system of 18 roadways, including one six lane freeway, and HO scale train tracks. Miniature cars speed through the city at 240 scale miles per hour; every hour, the equivalent of approximately 100,000 cars circulate through the dense network of buildings. According to Burden, “The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars produce in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st century city.”‘ — LACMA



Ode to Santos Dumont, 2015
‘The kinetic artwork “Ode to Santos-Dumont” is artist Chris Burden’s final work. Alberto Santos-Dumont is considered the father of aviation in France. He flew an airship held aloft with a hydrogen filled balloon to cruise the boulevards of Paris at the turn of the century. In 1901 he won the coveted Deutsch de la Meurthe Prize when he flew his airship around the Eiffel Tower. I have been inspired by the imagination and experimentation of Santos-Dumont. Through the inspiration of Santos-Dumont’s airships, I enlisted master machinist John Biggs to hand craft a 1/4 scale replica of 1903 De Dion gasoline motor. After working on and testing the motor for 7 years, the motor was completed and functional in 2010. In 2014, after much experimentation with propellers, building the gondola out of aluminum Erector parts, installing the engine and mounting mechanisms, and after working with a balloon manufacturer to produce the cigar shaped balloon, we employed our knowledge of engineering and physics to realize the sculpture Ode to Santos-Dumont. The airship sculpture, Ode to Santos-Dumont, is a highly balanced and refined mechanism. The airship travels indoors in a 60 foot circle. It is tethered from the inboard side with very thin, almost invisible threads to central hard points in the ceiling and the ground. The balloon is filled with helium to neutral buoyancy and the motor is just powerful enough to push the balloon in a 60 foot circle. If the airship were to deviate from its 60 foot circle, the geometry of the tethers would force the balloon to turn in a smaller tighter circle, which would cause the motor to work harder. As a result, the airship and its motor always seek the 60 foot circle, which is the path of least resistance, or the sweet spot. The sculpture Ode to Santos-Dumont was made possible through the ability, inquisitive and good nature, determination, and patience of master craftsman and inventor John Biggs. — vernissage




p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yep, that’s it. And I certainly can’t argue with your fave. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. You didn’t like ‘Tokyo Godfathers’? I think it’s true that Kon really came into his own fully with ‘Paprika’, and what a fucking shame that cancer decided to take him then. ** Bernard, Hi, B. Uncanny, it doesn’t get better. I do think of the blog as a kind of slot machine for the … soul?  I enjoyed your thing about Dietmar Busse very much, and I wish your stint at Holler wasn’t almost over. Not that you don’t have other, bigger things to do. Did you get a snowstorm? For about 6 hours on Saturday we were supposed to get one tomorrow, but now that day’s icon is a smiling fucking sun. Not that there’s anything wrong with cold sunlight, god knows. I do know about Steve’s book about Hudson, but only as of this weekend. Wow! Shit, I miss that guy. Everyone, There’s a new Bernard Welt stewarded entry on Holler for your severe delectation. Here, on Day Six, he shares excerpts from his should-be-infamous dream journal. ** James Nulick, Hey. ‘SOS’ is an early, pre-fluentish English ABBA period goodie for sure. I’m still awaiting my mailbox’s new New Juche fix. I approached Michael years back asking if I could reprint ‘The Consumer’ with LHotB, but he wanted a lot of money that we did not have. If I can find some decent excerpts online from ‘The Consumer’, I’ll make do a spotlight post. Let me check. Buddy Ebsen, ha ha. He lived next door to my dad on Balboa Island in his last years, and I saw him tottering about a lot. Cool character. I should do a post about him too. I think the gif at the top is from ‘Paprika’, but I’m not certain. Gifs almost never come with specific credits. ** JM, Hi, J. Thank you. Well, had that festival actually selected the film, it would have been pretty dreamy, and it would created a more inherent interest in the film for other festivals, but, yeah, that glowing rejection was still pretty floaty-inducing. At the same time yeah, very true about Pynchon and the Pulitzer. Thank for the cheer. What’s up on your end? ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Still no news, because of the weekend, I guess, but probably today. I’m steeled. Great and fruitful! Yay! Yes, your weekend sounds pretty golden, it’s cool. My weekend was super non-eventful. The much needed zone of productivity continues to elude me. I don’t know what’s up. I have a plan to psychologically force myself into that zone today, and we’ll see. So I just tried to work and worked in a scattered way all weekend and did this and that other random thing. Oh well. Did Monday keep up your great and fruitful streak, I hope? ** Jamie, Hey, hey. As I just told Dóra, my weekend was kind of a bust as far as my woking hopes were concerned, but, you know, I lived, ha ha. Whoa, yours was pretty sweet all the way around. That’s inspiring. Well, assuming that the Writing Gang fell in line with your excitement about that rediscovered writing of yours. So … did they? Glad you liked the post. I wondered what you as a behind-the-scenes animation maestro would think. I hope your day is like the magic carriage ride scene in ‘Cinderella’ but with shock absorbers on those wobbly wooden wheels. Pouncing like a tiger love, Dennis. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Yeah, I was very pleasantly surprised to see Kon is so beloved among gif makers. What did Antenne say? Have you heard? They’ve got a very nice selection of things there. Very happy to have to discovered it in any case. Thanks, bud. ** Right. I thought I would use whatever pull this blog has on your attention spans and hunger for interesting things as an opportunity to plunk down a bunch of works by the late, very great artist Chris Burden. Please scour. Thank you. See you tomorrow.


    • kier, That’s fucking awesome. Love “Electric Avenue” playing over it too. The last one made me laugh like a madman.

  1. David Ehrenstein

    February 12, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Buddy Ebsen may have looked like a cool character, but he was totally hateful to Nancy Kulp.

    Chris Burdern’s metamorphosing masochism into Art remains as singular as ever.

  2. When I was in college, I attended a Burden show at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, featuring a device that would physically wreck the museum if it became a major hit. I saw an interesting documentary on him in 2016 – I didn’t know he was dead till the end of it.

  3. Chris Burden made a cameo in my unfinished Warhol novel, mainly because I found out in the mid-1960’s he made some occasional excursions into the Warhol NY scene… I think Warhol may even have done a screen test of him at one time? I’m sure I had my reasons for putting him in there!

    Dennis, I didn’t mention it on here but a few days ago I finished my 3rd horror short story collection (LAST DARK RIDE). Granted, I still need to re-read it, edit it (and do the inevitable re-writing), proofread it and so on before I can even consider it suitable to start sending to publishers, but the grunt work is done. The only problem being that now I have nothing to work on! I can’t do anything further on HARLEM SMOKE until the publisher formats it and sends me proofs to go over, and for the Neo-Decadence Day right now I’m waiting for the other contributors to send me their material to add to it. I want to start a new novel at some point (as it’s been two years now since I’ve done so), I’m just unsure what direction to take. I’ve announced that I see both HARLEM SMOKE and my third collection as my goodbye to the horror genre, having toiled away at it for close to a decade now (I wrote my first true horror story in August of 2008). So I feel the need to go in a new direction… I’m just unsure what that direction should be. And I worry about alienating my own audience, as laughably small as it is. You know?

    I suppose I’ve just been feeling kind of spiritually adrift as of recent, like a blank slate. In the past few months I pretty much gave away almost all my occult books (including my Kenneth Grant collection), along with almost every philosophy book I own dealing with nihilism and pessimism (the few exceptions being Nick Land, Nietzsche, one book of Schopenhauer essays and also Ligotti’s philosophy book). Let me tell you an interesting dream I had on the very last day of 2017, when I was reading a lot of Jung at the time: in my dream I was in a car with my mom and we were driving through Woonsocket. At one point we passed by a Gothic-looking cathedral being demolished by construction vehicles, a sight that filled me with sadness. But then I noticed that a new church was being constructed a mere few feet away, one that was being designed to look identical to the one being destroyed nearby. This sight made me happy, until I walked over to it for a closer inspection and saw that the architecture of the new church was unsound and perverted, and that the people actually constructing it were idiotic children who were doing a shoddy, slap-dash job of it.

    My own self-analysis of the above dream is that the cathedral being torn down is symbolic of my lost childhood faith in the Catholic church. But how to interpret the identical church being built nearby? As something symbolic of the folly of trying to replace one’s lost faith with an identical construct? Or is it a critique of the individualistic desire to create a new religion entirely, such new religions inevitably being distorted and inferior imitations of those that came before?

    Well, I’ve rambled on enough for now, ha ha…

  4. Hi!

    I find myself drawn to Chris Burden’s earlier performances – in which he seemed to push himself to his human limits, both bodily and mentally. I found the ‘Bed Piece’ and ‘Velvet Water’ especially haunting. Thank you for this post!

    I had quite an uneventful day, honestly. I wrote some letters, I worked out, I read a little, I ate tons of sweets, haha. I don’t know, despite this I feel kind of full with a very positive energy all day.

    How do you plan to psychologically force yourself into the much-needed productive zone? (I might learn a thing or two!) Did/does it work?
    Any news from/about the press agent?
    I hope you had a good day, Dennis! How was it?

  5. On my end? The last few weeks I’ve begun the rehearsal process for a season of Philip Ridley’s “Moonfleece,” and I think we finally clicked into the ‘proper rhythm’ of the piece last night. We don’t perform until mid-March, so now we have plenty of room to play in this completely comfortable physical space with each other. Ridley is a great playwright… I’ve often felt a kinship between his work and yours, actually, at least in the attitudes towards transgressive material. He also has a few films, the most notable being ‘The Reflecting Skin,’ though in viewing that film you can tell you’re seeing the work of someone who started out writing for the stage (for the stage is the form he is most apt in) – are you familiar with him? If not, I have to recommend his plays ‘Tender Napalm’ and ‘Mercury Fur,’ the latter of which has been banned all over the world.

    Censorship is a curious thing. Joseph McElroy, the great writer, also wrote a *very* strong essay article this week, “Forms of Censorship, Censorship as Form” which everyone here may be interested in reading – it’s pretty lengthy, but can be found here:


    There’s an odd twin nature between the McElroy post and William H. Gass preface for “In The Heart of the Heart of the Country,” which I picked up yesterday and am now reading.

    Hey, while I’m here, depending on where Zac&your interests lie, the New Zealand International Film Festival usually takes submissions from all over the world and would totally end up as my only avenue to see PGL….. totally not a hint at all 🙂

    This Chris Burden post is awesome, I’ve never heard of him before. I’ve always thought that transgressing personal physical boundaries is a great first step toward creating truly provocative art & he seems like no exception. That video of Metropolis II is quite the stunner…. if only we had museums and galleries willing to allow artists to do things like excavate entire corners over in this part of the world!


  6. Hey hey, Denny Boy C!
    It would seem Chris Burden is suddenly my favourite artist, so hats off to you for making that happen so quickly! What a superb post. I knew bits and pieces of his work but didn’t realise that there was the range on display here. So many good pieces. I really like so so many of these works, by the time I scrolled round to Metropolis 2 I was almost crying tears of joy. And I kind wish he had destroyed Tale of Two Cities. Such a great post, thank you very much!
    How was your day? Did the ever elusive and seemingly getting slippier zone let you within? I hope so. Or maybe you need to get all Buddhist about it, y’know, there is no zone. My day’s writing was a total washout due to only sleeping for about two hours last night, so feeling frazzled. But it did snow here last night and I went out for a walk in the local park and it was clear, bright, white and utterly beautiful. You know what I think? I think tomorrow we’re both going to be so in the zone, we’ll probably be able to wave at one another. Word.
    Man, I’m so not an animation maestro, but thanks for saying that. My knowledge of anime is pretty poor, tbh, but I’m really into watching it an analytical way just to see how effects are achieved and little cheating tricks etc. Did you see that series that came out on Netflix last year, Neo Yokio? Written by a fellow from Vampire Weekend and it was like him trying to make an anime homage. It got pretty bad reviews and accused of cultural appropriation, but I thought it was completely excellent.
    Oh yeah, and my fellow Writing Gangers thought my piece was okay, but a bit too out-there and sprawling. I kind of took it as a compliment, as I always feel writing is a bit square and needs more out-thereness.
    What’s your Tuesday plans? May your day be tinged with a neon-pink hue.
    High-five in the zone love,

    p.s. In the (amazing) video that Kier posted above, are those rides for real? I was trying to work out if they had been CGId, or something, as they look too crazy. Would you go one them, if they are/were real?

  7. I saw ‘The Big Wheel’ installed within a downtown Manhattan gallery. There was no protective fencing around it. Anyone, well anyone careless enough, to offer an extended arm toward the spinning massive wheel would have had said limb snapped off by its giant spokes. And that could have happened so easily, adding considerable disquiet to an already arresting piece. The Wheel was surrounded by several tabletop displays containing what Burden had labeled as ‘Spy Kits.’ Some of the typed captions within these kits mentioned his desire to commit ‘Alexicide,’ a pointed reference to artist Alexis Smith with whom Burden had just concluded a romance. Some character detail: http://articles.latimes.com/1992-11-29/magazine/tm-2663_1_chris-burden/5

  8. I’m a longtime Chris Burden admirer. Think all I’ve seen of his work in the flesh is Medusa’s Head in Paris in the early 2000s, and there’s quite a bit of his later output that I wasn’t familiar with. So this was a useful and enlightening day, thank you!

    Spoke to Antenne today about distributing the Yuck’n Yum compendium. There’s a form I can fill in on their website, but I also want to put feelers out for Scottish publishers too before we commit to anything. We’re having a YNY meeting tomorrow where we can discuss our options.

  9. Dennis, Interesting stuff here. I don’t know how much I like it or not, to be frank. I’d have to spend much more time with it, I think, before making a decision. I can’t say that it jumps right out at me as “I’m loving this,” as so many things here you usually do. Hmm…

    Oh, so I saw that movie THE 15:17 TO PARIS. Worst movie I’ve ever seen in a theater. It’s that bad. I’m prone to exaggeration, I know, but I’m not exaggerating one bit here. Ugh. Funny, too, that you mention “Paris” being in the title and how that at least is something good…the guys in the movie, while touring Europe, keep having people tell them not to go to Paris because it sucks. Everyone tells them to go to Amsterdam instead. Well, they go to Amsterdam, and then they take…THE 15:17 TO PARIS. But yeah, complete waste of time. Acting, dialogue, script…worst ever.

    So I was thinking: If I do win this drawing and get to meet these actors from CMBYN -which I saw again Sunday and love even more now- I’m going to do two things. I want your opinion on whether or not I should do these things.:

    1. Take them hostage and make them read all of your books.
    2. Coerce them into starring in my very faithfully adapted screenplay of Samuel R. Delaney’s “Hogg.”

    What do you think?

    I’m back on my novel tonight. 😀

    • I was kind of happy to see 15:17 not screening for critics, because I think Eastwood is sooooo overrated; because it seemed like a terrible idea for a movie; and just because I am against everything that is good, decent, courageous, and patriotic–as you well know.
      I saw CMBYN for the second time this weekend and could enjoy certain effects in it more, kind of experiencing them analytically, withdrawn from the flow of the story; and unfortunately, found some moments–especially almost any when the leads talk about what’s happening between them–even more lame. Really nice use of John Adams’ and Debussy’s music; the Sufjan Stevens stuff makes me want to tear my ears off.
      Just one man’s reaction.
      Misanthrope: You need to publish. You’re a good writer. I’m going to feel awfully silly if I get famous before you. xo

      • 15:17 did screen for critics; I posted my Nashville Scene review here. And we seem to think it’s one of the worst films Eastwood has ever made – my review takes it to task for the political reasons you could guess, but it’s actually more positive than the majority of the reviews it’ received.

  10. There was something I really liked about this guy/his work. Art is so dated. The cellar-garage museum slays me. My hearing is very shaped by guns thinking of it.
    I think I like guns, I don’t know. The boy was a bum. I feel I have run the surface gamut of boys here, prototype-Florida fisherman kid, PR, ditzy blond. Maybe I’m just getting to the good stuff. Boys will come. I feel great possibilities about art these days. Like art could just explode. Hope you liked the story. Working on a space story. Burning alive, K.

  11. Hey,

    How’s it going? What are your plans for this new day in your extremely interesting life?

    *LOVED* this post *SO FUCKING MUCH!!!* The late Mr. Burden was such a great genius. LOVE him.

    “I’m good.”

    ^ And I’m very glad to know that.

    “snow, Olympics Opening Ceremony”

    ^ Mmm, really dislike both those things. You’re a fan of those ceremonies, right? Why, if you don’t mind me asking?

    “I don’t know anything about that ‘Miss Julie’, but I will certainly go find out about it.”

    ^ http://variety.com/2014/film/reviews/toronto-film-review-miss-julie-1201300373/ I’d advise you, in all humbleness, to not believe this “reviewer” in his negative, dumb assessment of the movie. Nothing’s sacred anymore! We’re talking about a movie written for the screen and directed by *Ms. LIV ULLMANN* Herself!!! She’s untouchable!!! *Sigh*… I’ll copy-paste 1 of the three comments left about this review and half of other: ““Ullmann has taken major liberties that include paring away all minor roles (even most references to them) in order to focus exclusively on the leading character trio” There are no minor roles in the play, just three characters as in the film.” “I feel like none of the critics I read understood the film .” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOckfmCn38g https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeTbu3B9TD0

    “never read read ‘War And Peace’ or ‘Les Misérables’ and never will, I’m pretty certain.”

    ^ Why?

    Not a big Syberberg fan at all. I do appreciate to a degree ‘Our Hitler A Film From Germany’, but I feel it just fails in various instances.


    ^ Tie between ‘TWA’ and ‘Blue Nights’.

    “Ashbery’s ‘Commotion of the Birds’, which was sublime.”

    ^ Wow. Yeah, I can imagine it was indeed sublime…

    “What about you?”

    ^ My dear, dear friend Wade Radford’s brand-new collection; ‘Seeing Red’. Amazing. Loved it.

    Just saw Lanthimos’ ‘The Killing Of A Sacred Deer’. Masterpiece. Really loved it. Great film. And it’s by far the blackest, darkest comedy I’ve seen in a long time; which is something, I, a life-long fan of the black comedy, really, really, really appreciate.

    Man, I LOVE Low so much. I sent them a tweet with a link to that shit pseudo-“album” I made (you might remember it, perhaps) and I told them how they, specifically their ‘Songs For A Dead Pilot’ album, were/was among my biggest influences and inspirations and they retweeted it on their account!!! This was like six days ago. I literally still can’t fucking believe it!…

    Take very good care, please,

    Good day; good luck,

    Love and hugs,

    Your friend,


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