LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Chris Burden

18 May - 21 Jun 2015

© Chris Burden
Ode to Santos Dumont, 2015
Ode to Santos Dumont
18 May - 21 June 2015

The first museum presentation of the late Chris Burden’s recently completed monumental performance sculpture, Chris Burden: Ode to Santos Dumont pays homage to ingenuity, optimism, and the persistence of experimentation, failure, and innovation. Inspired by Brazilian-born pioneer aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, widely considered the father of aviation in France, the kinetic airship sculpture was recently completed after a decade of research and work by Burden.

The highly balanced and refined mechanism—modeled after Santos-Dumont’s 1901 dirigible that flew around the Eiffel Tower—achieves indoor flight in 15-minute intervals throughout the day. An examination of weight and gravity, the work is powered by a quarter-scale version of a 1903 De Dion gasoline motor handcrafted by machinist and inventor John Biggs. Ode to Santos Dumont offers a palpable and emotional expression of the density of air, gravity, and energy required to move about in our earthly environment.

Ode to Santos Dumont is on view during regular museum hours through June 21. The work performs for 15-minute intervals several times a day and is included in the price of general admission. Performance times are as follows (no reservation required):

Tags: Chris Burden