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.