Chris Burden “Shoot”

Chris Burden is a video artist who created a piece which lasts about 2 seconds. In the video it’s mostly audio of what took place and the artist gets a bullet to the arm. Chris explains how the actual art in the video is the moment when the bullet meets his flesh. My initial thought about this was “this guy’s fucking insane”. What I found most interesting was how Chris Burden managed to even consider pulling this off. Regardless how ridiculous the stunt was, this guy’s badass.

“Shoot” was one of a number of perfectly repellent performance pieces of the early nineteen-seventies in which Burden subjected himself to danger, thereby creating a double bind, for viewers, between the citizenly injunction to intervene in crises and the institutional taboo against touching art works. (Such, at any rate, was my analysis of the distinctive nausea that I felt in thinking of those things, which I avoided witnessing in person.) He spent five days in a small locker, with a bottle of water above and a bottle for urine below; slithered, nearly naked and with his hands held behind him, across fifty feet of broken glass in a parking lot; had his hands nailed to the roof of a Volkswagen; was kicked down a flight of stairs; and, on different occasions, incurred apparent risks of burning, drowning, and electrocution.”

p.s. the action begins at 1:35

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