The Los Angeles Times’s Culture Monster blog tells a great story about artist Chris Burden’s delayed shipment of gold threatening his gallery opening. The gold is for a work but it was bought from Allen Stanford’s bank, hence the impounding that isleading to the delay. Not content, Mike Boehm goes further to speculate on the nature of Burden’s work, “One Ton, One Kilo.”
local art mavens are speculating that the “ton” part is a pickup truck — which would be in keeping with Burden’s long-running fascination with planes, trains and automobiles of various sorts, [ . . . ] The kilo, obviously, is the gold — and the “historical work” apparently refers to some sort of reconstruction or permutation of “Tower of Power,” Burden’s 1985 piece that debuted at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford and was installed again in Vienna in 2002.
“Tower of Power” was an ephemeral work — the gold in the original exhibition, worth $1 million at the time, was borrowed for the length of the show from a Rhode Island bank, at about 6% interest, according to a contemporaneous Wall Street Journal report. The “tower” — about 8 inches tall and 14 inches wide — sat on a 4-foot pedestal, encased in glass and surrounded by a dozen tiny matchstick men, the Journal reported, with most of them armed with sword-like pins and assuming “various poses of awe — bowing, praying, saluting.”
Gagosian Gallery and Chris Burden hit legal obstacle in launch of glittery show* (Culture Monster/Los Angeles Times)