Extreme Measures represents Chris Burden’s first major exhibition in the US for 25 years, and as if to recognise the gravity of the event, the New Museum in New York has given over all five of its floors, the façade, and even the lift space to Burden – necessary when reviewing a 40-year career containing many large-scale works.
This retrospective focuses on weights and measures, on pushing and pulling, leverage and limits. Engineering, science and mechanical devices play a major role, and there is often a human interaction or performance element to his work. The Big Wheel in full flow is quite the physical experience as a rider carefully pushes the static bike up to maximum revs, which in turn drives the wheel behind it to ever increasing speeds before letting it freewheel back to a standstill. In contrast, the artist’s landscapes of the 1980s, while keeping the ambitious scale, used modelling kits and toys to get their message across in miniature. Extreme Measures will continue its takeover of the New Museum until 12 January 2014.