Chris Burden’s Metropolis II, on display at LACMA, is a lot of fun. I was at LACMA recently, catching up with an old friend, hanging out and chatting for a while on the lawn. It was a pleasant afternoon to spend a bit of time talking about life and work outside, wandering into the museum to look at at an exhibit for a bit, and then resting outside in the late afternoon sun again, before going to see something else.
Anyway, the Metropolis II installation was fun, and very interesting. I can’t help but be reminded of time in my youth spent building imaginary cities, driving my toy cars around roads and buildings drawn in chalk, sometimes made more real with boxes, bricks, bits of Lego construction, and planks of wood. This seems to be in the same spirit… But of course, with a better budget, and I guess fewer interruptions to go to school and so forth. From what I could see, there’s a coupl of ramps that are electrically powered to draw several lanes of traffic to the highest points, and then the cars whizz around the city on sloping down roads until they get to the bottom of those ramps and start again. Of course people seemed awed by the ramps because they seem a realistic representation of their experience with traffic jams in actions parts of the city. Predictably, my favourite bits were the several electrically powered trains that were also winding around the city. Nobody seemed to pay much attention to those. Perhaps Burden’s piece, spectators included, is more of an accurate model of aspects of this fair metropolis than widely recognized.
Saw (through a fence) the levitated mass installation, all covered in green tarp, waiting to be revealed on Sunday. I shall have to go back. (You will recall that evening from earlier this year that I reported on, where the giant rock was trucking through the city on the last leg of its journey from its home quarry.) I’d like to see if the way it is set up really gives the promised feeling of the mass being suspended over you… I imagine that being able to disappear under it and reemerge out to be an amazing feeling, but I am curious as to whether the concrete structure of the trench built to house the whole thing interferes with this or not…. We shall see.
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