I couldn't wait to see the Chris Burden retrospective at the New Museum. Not only was I intrigued about the prospect of a full-career retrospective of an artist most well-known for performance, but also because the entire museum would be filled with just Burden's work. I was particularly taken by the LA Police Uniforms, created in cooperation with the Fabric Workshop and Museum in 1993.Made by the genuine factory that manufactures LAPD uniforms, these are slightly larger than lifesize (7 feet, four inches, to be exact), a detail which makes them both fascinating and unsettling. A commentary on authority, specifically related to the brutal police beatings in LA in 1992, the uniforms remind us of our stature within society, and also recall the fear of the civil rights era. In the words of Blake Gopnik:
They are perfect facsimiles of what was worn by the LAPD, although blown up to just about fit the largest humans ever born. They capture the inner image that we have of every police officer we have an encounter with – whether as savior or threat.
Dress/Jacket: Marc Jacobs
Belt: Jodi Arnold
See the exhibition through 1/12/14 at the New Museum.
Photos by Kathy Paciello.