“If An Artist Doesn’t Take Risks, Then It’s Not Worth It.”—photographer Robert Frank.
For Greg's class on Feb. 6, we'll be looking at the work of Los Angeles artist Chris Burden to consider risk-taking in art—particularly in performance art. Check out and respond to the following videos and readings:
= Chris Burden "Shoot" video (above).
= "Chris Burden: The body artist" by Roger Ebert, April 8, 1975.
= Chris Burden: "My God, are they going to leave me here to die?" by Roger Ebert, May 25, 1975.
= "Chris Burden--A Daredevil's New Expressions: Realism Makes His Works Tick" by William Wilson, April 24, 1988.
= "Unmasking Chris Burden: His Art Has Always Challenged the Rules; For a While, So Did His Antics. Now, L.A.'s Notorious Bad-Boy Artist Has Settled Down. Or Has He?" by Kristine McKenna, Nov. 29, 1992.
= Various statements by Chris Burden.
= Chris Burden "Metropolis II" video (below).
In your essay consider: Does art need to be risky to be worth it? What do we mean by risky? A major area of performance art has centered on actions that place the performer in physical danger. What are the benefits of such dangers? What are the risks? Can we mitigate such risks and still get the same charge in the art? Is it necessarily in art for actions to be actual instead of simulated? Must the performer actually be in danger? How important to such performances are the stories, the legends they foster? Why do we so value risk in art? Do such performances respond to their times? How, for example, might Burden's performances reference violence in our society or war? Do Chris Burden's intentions become clearer in his later works, like "All the Submarines of the United States of America" (1987) or "Metropolis II" (2011)?
= Artist Zsuzsanna Szegedi visits SFAS on Feb. 6.