Chris Burden: Ode to Santos Dumont

Resnick Pavilion
May 18, 2015–June 21, 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):

Mondays: noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm
Tuesdays: on view, although no performances are scheduled
Wednesdays: LACMA is closed.
Thursdays: noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm
Fridays: 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, and 7 pm
Saturdays and Sundays: noon, 2 pm, 4 pm, and 6 pm

Visitors may access the exhibition space between performances during museum hours. 

Image: Chris Burden, Ode to Santos Dumont, 2015, © Chris Burden.

Chris Burden, 1946–2015

We are saddened to note the passing of Chris Burden, an artist who has left indelible marks in both the international art world and here in Los Angeles through his tireless, relentless pursuit of innovation in performance, sculpture, and performance-sculpture, among other media...