Art & Culture in Chicago

The least pretentious pretentious art blog

Posts Tagged ‘sculpture

Bad Boy Turned Architect

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burden“Today I am going to breathe water,”

explained Chris Burden in his 1974 video, ‘Velvet Water’, “which is the opposite of drowning, because when you breathe water, you believe water to be richer, thicker oxygen capable of sustaining life”. In doing so, he decided not to be bound by conventional wisdom and to mistrust everything except his own experience.  After five minutes he collapsed, choking.

Is there something wrong with Chris Burden?  Is he crazy, or is he just a good artist?  Although his artwork has tamed quite a bit over the years, it is still awe-inspiring.  But the question that his work, especially his early work, elicits in my mind is- is he doing this out of insanity or love?

Burden is best known for his early work.  Beginning with his 1971 MFA show, ‘Five Day Locker Piece’, in which he confined himself in a tiny student locker for five days straight, Burden spent his early career staging performances that explored a potentially fatal merging of art and life. Over a three year period from ’71 to ‘74, he nailed himself to the roof of a Volkswagen Beetle, lay under a tarp on La Cienega Boulevard, lay in a bed in a gallery for 22 days, slithered, nearly naked, through 50 feet of broken glass, and most infamous of all, had himself shot with a rifle. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Kelly Reaves

December 13, 2008 at 9:50 pm


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Amy Mayfield is turning a lot of heads.  

She has exhibited her paintings throughout Chicago at Gahlberg Gallery, The Hyde Park Art Center, Bucket Rider and Zolla Lieberman Gallery, and Franklin Parrasch in New York. In 2007 she exhibited in the MCA 12×12 series, a program designed to exhibit the work of local, emerging artists.  Just this September her work was part of the “Ahh… Decadence” exhibit at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s new gallery, her paintings being referred to in a Newcity review of the show as having the most “luxurious surfaces of all.”  In the current issue of CS Interiors, art collectors are encouraged to invest in “meteoric talents like Amy Mayfield.”

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Written by Kelly Reaves

October 20, 2008 at 6:47 am

Marilyn Again

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It’s difficult to evaluate an exhibition of artwork about Marilyn Monroe because I inevitably find myself annoyed by the repetitiveness of seeing her image over and over again. 

To be fair to the curator, though, I must chalk it up to the ubiquitousness of her image in the world and simply focus on the pieces that leave her out of the picture, which I tended to enjoy the most.

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Written by Kelly Reaves

September 15, 2008 at 6:35 am