new-york

Chris Burden

Gagosian Gallery (21)

A volcanic mass of rocky landscape at once wrapped with and penetrated by model trains and tracks of various sizes, Medusa’s Head, 1989–92, hung from the ceiling like a twisted child’s vision of terrestrial apocalypse. The gaping wounds on the object’s contorted surface doubled as tunnels for the immobile toy trains-atrophied, self-circulating travel refusing to proceed around a globe of materialized entropy. A grand, if not somehow threatening, deliberate inanity that also characterizes Chris Burden’s Whitney Biennial installation, Fist of Light, 1992–93, predominates here. In the latter we encounter something that resembles an air circulation system, which looks like the exposed infrastructural machinery of the museum. A set of aluminum ducts establishes its own simple yet monumental architecture, connecting a modest air-conditioning unit to a large rectilinear aluminum “room” that

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