“Burden” is a complex documentary examining the life of Chris Burden. It also scares the holy hell out of me that I get so much of what Burden is laying down. Too often, people blow smoke up their back ends of artists. What they don’t realize is the quest for purpose in their practice. It’s not just an artistic fluke to take a demo reel to a public TV station and make them play it on a loop. The B-Car and other engineering devices were more than just monstrous creations. This is was aggressive art meant to force attention.

I appreciated getting art collectors such as John McEnroe to talk about the pieces they bought from the artist. It’s one thing to have an artist talking head telling you why their pieces are important. You need to have the actual customers of this material tell you what is so attractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so where does transgression exist? My first thought is to make a joke about the lady in the black & white video. But, that falls on the artist for not calling that segment “Thick Bush #1”. Great stuff.


  • Not Rated
  • 1 hr and 28 mins
  • Magnolia


  • 90%
    Film Score - 90%

The Plot Thus Far

This documentary explores the life and works of artist Chris Burden, featuring exclusive interviews with the late artist and the various members of the art world in which he influenced. BURDEN illuminates his unconventional life and radical transition from dangerous performance art such as 5-Day Locker, Shoot and Trans-Fixed, to intricately engineered installations including Metropolis II and the iconic exterior Urban Light installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


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