Los Angeles

Chris Burden

Rosamund Felsen Gallery

While Chris Burden has been primarily associated with performance work, in his Big Wheel he has successfully integrated the concepts of art as “object” and art as performance. The piece consists of the artist’s 250 cc Benelli motorcycle resting against the front of a 6,000 pound, 8-foot diameter, cast iron flywheel which is supported by a 6-by-6 inch lumber frame. The back wheel of the bike sits in a specially designed stand which raises it off the floor, thereby allowing it to reach speeds from 60 to 70 mph without inducing forward motion. As the bike accelerates, it rotates the flywheel which attains a maximum speed of approximately 200 rpm. After the motorcycle is shut off and disengaged, the wheel continues to spin for two hours.

Consistent with many of Burden’s earlier activities, the spectator is initially engaged by the work’s suggestion of risk and danger. Not only is there the

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