New York

Chris Burden

Zwirner & Wirth

Of all the art clamoring for attention in New York this fall, the most incisively current was a thing of the past. Chris Burden’s early work has a purchase on the contemporary in ways that are both revealing and overdetermined, making unmistakably clear that the history we thought we had transcended is still the long present in which we are mired. Conceived against a backdrop of inept and insidious foreign policy in Vietnam and the ceaseless televisual spectacle its insurrections set in motion, Burden’s work finds an eerie analogue in the sectarian violence of our own era of equivocation bereft of responsibility.

Polemical and clinical in equal measure, Burden’s work turns on ideas of violence and mass witness, empiricism and its social and somatic consequences. “Chris Burden: Early Work” played these leitmotifs for all they’re worth, and the result was a representational field as concretely

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