(Video link here. We recommend watching with the sound OFF.) We were stunned to hear that artist Chris Burden died last week at the age of 69. Known for pushing limits, Burden used his own body as art material in extraordinarily violent and shocking ways, until he moved into other forms of sculpture. Just two months ago, when we ran a video of his powerful Beam Drop, we somehow thought he’d live forever.
Then, we heard NPR’s 3-minute piece, below, about the artist’s last, wondrous work: a self-propelled zeppelin, and wondered about Burden’s path from having himself shot in front of an audience, to making such magical, meditative last work. Inspired by aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, it is an ode to innovators and tinkerers (the motor alone took seven years to create). It is a lovely thing to watch.
The NPR piece offers fine view into its making.