Thu 9/21 @ 7PM
Performance artist Chris Burden, who died in 2015 at the age of 69, was one of the genre’s better known practitioners due to the extremism of his projects. He emerged in the early ’70s when confrontation and risk were a central part of theater/ performance scene fueled by movements like happenings and Fluxus, as well as the civil unrest of the antiwar era.
Burden’s performances included one in which an assistant shot him in the arm, another in which he was attached to a car by nails hammered through his hands, and one in which he lay on a platform in a gallery for 22 days without coming down, eating, talking or being able to see visitors (or they him).
He wasn’t just some crazy kook looking for attention, however, but a college-educated artist with a masters degree, who was widely admired by cutting-edge artists, performers and musicians (he was mentioned in songs by both David Bowie and Laurie Anderson. Later in life, he became a professor himself and moved into producing intricate sculptures and installations that didn’t create nearly the amount of attention as his controversial performance pieces.
The Akron Art Museum will screen the new documentary Burden, featuring video of some of his performances and interviews with people who knew him. It’s free and open to the public.