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Chris Burden: Medusa's Head

DATES June 28, 1991 through September 01, 1991
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
  • May 1, 1991 PRESS PREVIEW: Thursday, June 27, 1991, 6:00 -9:00 p.m.
    Special motorcoach service will be available to the Museum from Manhattan, leaving at 6:00 p.m. from the front of the Plaza Hotel. Reservations are required. Please RSVP to Sally Williams or Michelle Menendez in the Public Information office, 718-638-5000, ext. 330.

    Chris Burden, one of America’s most influential installation artists, will present his latest monumental project, Medusa’s Head, at The Brooklyn Museum June 28 to September 1, 1991. An enormous spheroid fourteen feet in diameter and weighing over five tons, the work will be suspended from the ceiling of the Grand Lobby, located on the first floor.

    The title refers to the Greek myth of the serpent-haired Gorgon Medusa, at whose sight mortals were turned to stone. The dark, scarred, expressively articulated surface of the work is full of woundlike grooves and encircled by seemingly endless railroad tracks and toy trains. The miniature freight cars of the trains are filled with earth, rocks, and gravel, and, along with the twisting and winding tracks, reminds one of the snakes encircling Medusa’s head.

    Born in Boston in 1946, Burden spent his teens mostly in Europe, where his father worked as an engineer for the Rockefeller Foundation. Upon returning to the United States, he attended Pomona College and later chose to study architecture at the University of California at Irvine. Soon, however, he switched to art and began making sculptural pieces demanding human interaction. These pieces led him to performance work and later to the large-scale installations that currently occupy most of his time.

    The project, twenty-seventh in a series of Grand Lobby projects, was organized by Charlotta Kotik, Curator of Contemporary Art, with the assistance of Laura Deer Moore, curatorial intern funded by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. The exhibition and its associated Artist-in-Residence program are made possible by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1989 - 1994. 01-06/1991, 085-86.
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