The Quikrete Companies found an unexpected place in New Museum of Contemporary Art’s presentation of “Chris Burden: Extreme Measures,” the renown artist’s first New York survey and his first major U.S. exhibition in more than 25 years. The exhibition, which is on view until mid-January, presents a selection of Burden’s work across various medium, including Beehive Bunker and A Tale of Two Cities featuring Quikrete products.
Beehive Bunker (2006) is a low-cost defensive structure to be occupied by one to three persons. This monumental dwelling reconfigures more than 300 bags of Quikrete Concrete Mix and more than 300 of Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix in a stacked pattern to create an imposing environment that treats the landscape of the city as a place of constant threat to the individual body. The bags of concrete were watered in the gallery, so it hardened during the installation process.
War toys model a hypothetical conflict between two warring city-states in A Tale of Two Cities (1981). Covering about 1,000 square feet, the installation required 1,040 bags of Quikrete All-Purpose Sand, the attendant bed harboring approximately 5,000 toys, plants and boulders. The installation amplifies the mock staging of violence typical of male childhood play in order to make contemporary warfare.
Over the past four decades, Burden has created a unique and powerful body of work that has redefined the way both performance and sculpture is understood. The exhibition at the New Museum features a selection of Burden’s work focused on marvels of engineering, such as buildings, vehicles, war machines and bridges, consistently engaging with the representation of masculinity and the destructive potential latent in engineering pursuits.