Los Angeles artist Chris Burden dies at 69

Updated post

urban-light-burden.jpgUrban Light.

Chris Burden, the conceptual artist who rose "to become one of the most widely admired sculptors of his generation," died early Sunday at home in Topanga Canyon, LA Times art critic Christopher Knight reports. Burden, 69, had malignant melanoma, an illness that he kept private. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where Burden's "Urban Light" outside the museum has become one of the most photographed works of art in Los Angeles, noted Burden's passing on social media.

From Knight's short news item in advance of a full obituary:

“Urban Light,” Burden’s 2008 sculpture at the entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, had become a symbol of the city. It takes the form of a Classical temple composed from 202 restored cast-iron antique street lamps.

I don't think I have ever passed Urban Light, day or night, when there wasn't somebody there among the antique lampposts that Burden restored. Here's a Facebook page devoted to photos taken by admirers at the installation facing the Wilshire Boulevard sidewalk. "He gave us our public square at @lacma," LA Times arts editor Laurie Ochoa just noted on Twitter. Burden's Metropolis II kinetic installation at LACMA a couple of years ago also received popular accolades. Here's a lovely five-minute video in which Burden talks about the creation of Metropolis II. LA Observed file photo above of Metropolis II at LACMA by Judy Graeme

Known originally for performance art pieces, in 1971 Burden had a friend shoot him in the arm with a .22 rifle — for art. Here's a film clip he introduces and narrates.

Previously on LA Observed:
Chris Burden's favorite Westwood office tower
Took a village to build Metropolis II
Metropolis II at LACMA

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