A Visit with the Great Chris Burden at His Topanga Canyon Studio
January 31, 2012

We’re approaching Chris Burden’s property deep inside the fabled Topanga Canyon, far from the hustle and bustle of LA.

We’re approaching Chris Burden’s property deep inside the fabled Topanga Canyon, far from the hustle and bustle of LA.

There he is, Burden himself, the man who had a friend shoot him in the arm, the man who was crucified on a VW, well into his 60s, he’s still a pretty intense guy, believe me.

There he is, Burden himself, the man who had a friend shoot him in the arm, the man who was crucified on a VW, well into his 60s, he’s still a pretty intense guy, believe me.

He’s into primitive engineering and technological systems, like this 12-foot model of a bridge. It’s self supporting without mortar or glue or any cement, it’s engineered to stand up on its own, just a big toy for big boys.

He’s into primitive engineering and technological systems, like this 12-foot model of a bridge. It’s self supporting without mortar or glue or any cement, it’s engineered to stand up on its own, just a big toy for big boys.

This is his London Bridge, it’s an edition of 6, I think, all wrapped up and ready to go.

This is his London Bridge, it’s an edition of 6, I think, all wrapped up and ready to go.

Check out the Chrysler Building, made out of old Erector Set parts he found and reproduced, I like it a lot.

Check out the Chrysler Building, made out of old Erector Set parts he found and reproduced, I like it a lot.

See his pile of books and manuals, look carefully and you will see books on how to build miniature railroads, skyscrapers, churches, perhaps…

See his pile of books and manuals, look carefully and you will see books on how to build miniature railroads, skyscrapers, churches, perhaps…

Looking down on the studio… life in California is pretty laid back.

Looking down on the studio… life in California is pretty laid back.

I think they grow a lot of weed up here.

I think they grow a lot of weed up here.

Here’s “Metropolis II” the huge Erector Set–city-racetrack Burden has built. It was bought by Nicolas Berggruen and lent to LACMA for 10 years. It’s pretty cool… and I took a movie of it

Here’s “Metropolis II” the huge Erector Set–city-racetrack Burden has built. It was bought by Nicolas Berggruen and lent to LACMA for 10 years. It’s pretty cool… and I took a movie of it

Watch a short video

Mr. Burden said it’s like a city of the future.

Mr. Burden said it’s like a city of the future.

But it’s more like a futuristic past. Did you ever see Fritz Lang’s 1927 <em>Metropolis</em>, the silent film? It’s amazing and much better than today’s silent movie “L’Artiste” which I predict will win the Academy Award… it’s better than most movies ever made so SEE IT!

But it’s more like a futuristic past. Did you ever see Fritz Lang’s 1927 Metropolis, the silent film? It’s amazing and much better than today’s silent movie “L’Artiste” which I predict will win the Academy Award… it’s better than most movies ever made so SEE IT!

Thank you Mr. Burden, you are a complex and inscrutable figure, a legend in your own time.

Thank you Mr. Burden, you are a complex and inscrutable figure, a legend in your own time.