25
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12

Sculpture: ‘Metropolis II’ (2010) by Chris Burden at LACMA, Los Angeles

Installation dates: 14th January 2012 -

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Poetic, historic, amazing, fantastic, incredible, indescribable (the words of an eight year old, comment on the website). Great video as well. Take your ear plugs! Many thankx to LACMA for allowing me to publish the video and the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Chris Burden
Metropolis II
2010
Courtesy of the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Foundation
© Chris Burden

Dimensions: 9’9″ (H) x 28’3” (W) x 19’2” (D) (297 cm x 862 cm x 584 cm)

Media: 
3 1/2 hp DC motors with motor controllers
1,100 custom-manufactured die-cast cars
13 HO-scale train sets with controllers and tracks
Steel, aluminum, shielded copper wire, copper sheet, brass, various plastics, assorted woods and manufactured wood products, Legos, Lincoln Logs, Dado Cubes, glass, ceramic and natural stone tiles, acrylic and oil-based paints, rubber, sundry adhesives

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Chris Burden
Metropolis II
2010
Courtesy of the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Foundation
© Chris Burden

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“Created by artist Chris Burden, Metropolis II (2010) is a complex, large-scale kinetic sculpture modeled after a fast-paced modern city. The armature of the piece is constructed of steel beams, forming an eclectic grid interwoven with an elaborate system of eighteen roadways, including a six-lane freeway, train tracks, and hundreds of buildings. 1,100 miniature toy cars speed through the city at 240 scale miles per hour on the specially designed plastic roadways. Every hour, the equivalent of approximately 100,000 cars circulates through the sculpture. “The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars, produces in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st Century city.”

Situated in the center of the grid are three electrically powered conveyor belts, each studded with magnets at regular intervals. The magnets on the conveyor belt and those on the toy cars attract, enabling the cars to travel to the top of the sculpture without physical contact between the belt and cars. At the top, the cars are released one at a time and race down the roadways, weaving in and out of the structure, simulating rapid traffic and congestion.

Metropolis II is on long-term loan to LACMA, thanks to the generosity of LACMA Trustee Nicolas Berggruen. Beginning January 14, 2012, the work will be on view on the first floor of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) and run on weekends during the scheduled times below.

  • The cars are attached by a small magnet to the conveyor belt that brings them to the crest
  • The only motorization of the cars is the conveyor belt to the top
  • Once the cars cross over the crest and head downward, their entire movement is by gravity
  • They travel at a scale speed of 240 mph, plus or minus
  • The tracks they take are Teflon coated to reduce friction
  • The tracks are beveled at 7 degrees to give added torque for speed when they come through corners and curves

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Beginning Saturday, January 14, to see Metropolis II in action, please visit the gallery at these times:
Fridays: 12:30-2 pm; 3-4:30 pm; 5-6:30 pm; 7-8:30 pm
Weekends: 11:30-1:00 pm; 2-3:30 pm; 4-5:30 pm; 6-7:30 pm
Weekdays: not operational”

Press release from LACMA

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Chris Burden
Metropolis II
2010
Courtesy of the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Foundation
© Chris Burden

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Chris Burden
Metropolis II (detail)
2010
Courtesy of the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Foundation
© Chris Burden

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Operator Alison Walker watches miniature cars move along the roads in Chris Burden’s latest kinetic sculpture, Metropolis II, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012. The sculpture does more than just imitate life. The colorful display of roads, cars, trains and buildings is art imitating what the artist foresees life being like in five or 10 years.

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard (at Fairfax Avenue)
Los Angeles, CA, 90036
T: 323 857-6000

Opening Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: noon-8 pm
Friday: noon-9 pm
Saturday, Sunday: 11am-8 pm
closed Wednesday

LACMA website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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