Chris Burden

Chris Burden, Doomed, 1975. Performance view, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, April 11, 1975.

THROUGHOUT his long and varied career, Chris Burden strove to understand the principles behind how things work. Born the son of an engineer and a biologist in Boston, he used diagrams, models, and engineering to explore the limits of physical, psychological, and social space. Burden spent formative years as a teenager in Europe, where he began to appreciate an art that slipped seamlessly between ideas, science, and theology. Leonardo da Vinci became then—and remained—an influential model. Like Leonardo, Burden will be remembered as a visionary artist to the core.

Fortuitous in his move to Los Angeles, with its burgeoning art scene, Burden began in the early 1970s a series of mature performances realized while still a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine. He understood from the beginning that his access to institutions of higher learning, museums, and

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