Chris Burden

Chris Burden, Exposing the Foundation of the Museum, 1986, three excavations of earth. Installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Photo: Squidds & Nunns.

SPRING 1976: This would be my first time on the West Coast, my first time in LA.

Art- and architecture-doers of my generation were seldom asked to go to other places in the US; we were asked to go instead to Western Europe. Dealers there knew they could bring us over on the cheap—we were the young ’uns who could be stored in second- and third-rate hotels, we took whatever we could get, we didn’t know any better. (Of course we knew better: We knew that Jasper Johns, e.g., was traveling in a different class than we were . . . )

We were the generation that didn’t travel packed with art to sell, we were the ones who made things up on the spot, we did so-called performances and installations that were thrown away—out with the garbage—once we were through with them: All that the dealers had to pay for were (for them) cheap tricks that got attention and surprise and maybe

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