I saw the kinetic sculpture Metropolis-II by Chris Burden at LACMA Los Angeles

chris burden metropolis ii

I saw the artwork Metropolis-II by Chris Burden at LACMA Los Angeles last week.

It is a huge sculture/installation/spectacle…
A model of a fantasy city with hundreds or thousands of tiny cars zipping through model roads.
(I did not count the cars but there were many.)

As usual, when in a museum, you start to form an opinion while you are watching. I kept thinking, “Would this be better if I saw it in a toy store? Does the museum context ruin the fun element?”. I thought about this because I usually get annoyed with the pretentious environment of the museum. It is never an innocent experience. An innocent experience happens in a shopping mall, in a toy store, on TV, the web, in an arcade, somewhere where you find something beautiful and you feel happy that you found it. Museums are very selective so you don’t feel like you found anything, it feels more like you were forced to wtach it. Museums scream “this is art”.

Another reason I felt some resistance to Metropolis-II is because Chris Burden is known for his performance art in the 70s. He had someone shoot him in the name of art. I believe he let someone shoot a bullet in his arm. This is the type of content I find funny in pop culture but annoying in the name of art.

Metroplis-II is different. I decided I like this work regardless of where I see it. It is a mesmerizing thing to observe. I forgot about pretenses and I just enjoyed looking at this kinetic sculpture. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a museum or a toy store.

Here is a video of the sculpture, with comments by the artist. If you are in LA… go see it! It’s much better AFK.