Collection by Carren Jao

Chris Burden's Big City Dreams


Judging from the ecstatic mood, it may as well have been Christmas morning at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as Angelenos finally got a much-awaited first look at Chris Burden’s Metropolis II, a magnetically powered kinetic sculpture of 1,100 hot wheels-like cars zipping through a futuristic version of the City of Angels. “It’s like the toy car set that I’ve always wanted,” commented one press person gleefully to another. Indeed, everyone traveled a few years (or decades) back into their childhood at the sight of it, including me. When asked how he feels finally seeing the exhibition on public view after seven years of working on it and struggling to finance it, artist Chris Burden briefly replies, “Good. Real good.” The exhibition opens to the public on January 14th, but click through our slideshow for a sneak peek.

Metropolis II is a large-scale kinetic sculpture inspired by a Los Angeles of the future, with traffic moving at...
Chris Burden is a Los Angeles-based international artist earlier known for his life-threatening projects.
Burden did not specifically model any of the buildings to existing structures in the real world.
Different types of buildings abound in Metropolis II. Each was constructed with the help of a dedicated assistant that...
An Eames-like house of cards could often be seen in various buildings around the little city.
1,100 specially designed mini cars zip and whiz through the city’s plastic roads at 240-scale-miles per hour.
Approximately 100,000 cars pass through the sculpture every hour.
The moment when cars enter a curve is called a “brush.” It is a crucial moment in the kinetic sculpture, when cars are...
A sculpture as large as this isn’t without its problems.
The frenzy of cars runs on gravity, save for three conveyor belts set right in the middle of the exhibition.

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