With 1971's Shoot, Chris Burden became one of the most intriguing conceptual artists of the last century. In said piece a friend of Burden's aimed a loaded 22 caliber rifle at Chris' arm in a gallery type setting and fired. The bullet, which by Mr. Burden's account was supposed to only graze him, passed through his arm leaving a smoking hole.

Some of his other memorable works include Through the Night Softly, which involved him wearing only briefs with his hands behind his back crawling on a floor covered with broken glass recorded in black and white. Truly haunting. In another work Doorway To Heaven, he held live electrical wires to his chest. In Transfixed he sort of crucified himself to the top of a Volkswagen beetle with nails driven through his hands.

If you ever get a chance to see any of his books in a library check them out, there are more surprising works to be seen. He is now a professor at UCLA and still does conceptual art, but doesn't seem to use his body in the pieces any longer.

Chris Burden (1946 -)

Chris Burden is an American artist (born in Boston, MA) most famous for a series of performance pieces made between 1971 and 1975. Most notably these include Shoot (1971) and Trans-fixed (1974). Both of these pieces were largely controversial due to the dangers the artist imposed upon himself, including being shot (Shoot (1971)) and nailed to a Volkswagen Beetle (Trans-fixed (1974)).

Besides his performance pieces, Burden is also well-known for his works dealing with science and politics. These include a reconstruction of the first television (C.B.T.V. (1977)) and a scientific experiment demonstrating the speed of light (The Speed of Light Machine (1983)). Burden also completed a number of works which dealt with bridges in the early 2000s. A number of these are on display at the Gagosian Gallery in California.

Burden was Professor and Head of New Media at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1978 to 2005, when he retired following an incident involving a graduate student's performance piece. According to Burden, his resignation was "due to a decision made by UCLA for not suspending a graduate student who tried to reenact my "Shoot" piece in my class. The gun was goddamn loaded! The university is supposed to be a civilized discourse!"

In 2005 Burden finished a self-navigating, crewless yacht and released it on a 330 mile trip from Shetland to Newcastle. The ship successfully docked itself at its destination.

Burden is married to multi-media artist Nancy Rubins and has lived in Los Angeles since 1965.

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