New York

Chris Burden

Ronald Feldman Gallery

Chris Burden offered a star-wars fantasy in which the new-world ambition signified by Columbus’ ships (all three were here) was continuous with the ambition that leads us to explore space and make war. The way his objects swam and related in space, not just the objects themselves, was essential to this installation, which was a kind of crazy-quilt convergence of different versions of the will to conquer alien worlds—ironically, with Rube Goldberg means. It’s all child’s play, Burden seemed to be saying, while he muted the fun by the sinister sense of violence that hovered over the nonsequential narrative plot. These works are like props for a snuff film—the objects have the air of homemade .22s. An inventory of the components of The Ship of Corks, 1983, is revelatory: 2,700 wine-bottle corks, a child’s 19th-century shotgun, 12 dry batteries, 8 paddle wheels, bamboo, copper wire, nails,

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