Saturday, July 12, 2003

Chris Burden has been making model bridges out of Mysto and Meccano Erector sets for several years now. I owned an Erector set once. I think I made an oil barge, destroyed it, and then returned to my Star Wars toys. Last night at his Bridges and Bullets show at the Gagosian gallery, among the Bev Hill party arters and the otherwise underdressed, several new Burden Bridges were unveiled: the Indo-China Bridge, the Tower of London Bridge, the 21' Truss Bridge, the Antique Bridge, and the big big behemoth, the 32 foot Curve Bridge (I'd like to get another B in there). You can find examples of the sort of bridges he builds here. And bullets? Yep, in the back room gold bullets rested in states of well-encased zen. Compared to the bridges (so large and skeletal, always threatening to collapse like a bunch of dominoes) the bullets seemed like puffs of air. I didn't even realize what they were at first . . . lipstick containers? Rumpelstiltskin's golden thimbles? One group of bullets (the round ones) were called Roundies. Another group of bullets (the pointed ones) were called Pointies. Very cute, which I suppose was the point. I liked the turn-of-the-century toy technology, the big boy artist playing with his toys, the unexpected beauty of the golden bullets. But then I read the press release. "Burden's particular interest in bridge construction reflects his fascination with man's basic urge to overcome barriers, to master the forces of nature, to speed travel, link communities, to widen horizons." Master the forces of nature? Speed travel? Was this written in the late 19th century? We laughed and laughed. It's possible that the language here is supposed to mirror early modernist discourse, but it's too naked and uncritical to be taken seriously.

No comments: