Chris Burden, Scale Model of The Solar System (detail), 1983, installation at Gagosian Beverly Hills © Chris Burden. Photo by Jeff McLane.

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Chris Burden's Scale Model of the Solar System installation in Beverly Hills, California.

On view November through December 2017.


In the context of the current second-floor gallery installation of celestially themed works by artists including Piero Golia, Andreas Gursky, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and others, Gagosian is pleased to present Chris Burden’s Scale Model of the Solar System (1983). This installation consists of nine spheres representing the sun and the planets. To maintain the exact relative size and distance of the planets in the solar system, the spheres have been installed in strategic locations across the city from South Santa Monica Boulevard to Gregory Way and viewers are invited to follow the route to discover the cosmic system.

From his action-based works of the 1970s, to the technical feats of his later sculptures, Burden challenged his own mental and physical limitations, as well as the boundaries of art and performance. Over the course of his career, the extremeness of his early performance works evolved into compelling large-scale sculptures, including, for example, the huge yet intricate models of bridges and skyscrapers fashioned out of toy Erector components.

In Scale Model of the Solar System, which Burden conceived at a transitional point in his career, the infinite expanses of outer space are charted at a more familiar and easily navigable human scale. At Gagosian Beverly Hills, a yellow plastic sphere measuring 13 inches in diameter represents the Sun, and steel balls stand for Mercury, Venus, and Earth, according to the relative scale and distance. The distance from the sun varies from 36 feet for Mercury, the closest planet, to almost one mile away for Pluto, the farthest planet. Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, which are progressively further and further away from the Sun, are to be found in the display windows and foyers of local shops, cafes, and restaurants. Thus, to travel from the gallery to a pharmacy or a sandwich shop becomes a symbolic journey through the cosmos, and Beverly Hills is transformed into a mathematically accurate interstellar map.

This is the first time that Scale Model of the Solar System (1983) is being shown on the West Coast since Burden’s survey exhibition at the Orange County Museum of Art in 1988.

Planets and participating venues: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth (Gagosian Beverly Hills);  Mars (Mickey Fine Pharmacy, 414 North Camden Drive); Jupiter (Teuscher Chocolates & Cafe, 9548B Brighton Way); Saturn (Mr. Chow, 344 North Camden Drive); Uranus (The Gersh Agency, 9465 Wilshire Blvd); Neptune (Beverly Hills Postal Place, 269 South Beverly Drive); Pluto (Jersey Mike's Subs, 279 South Beverly Drive).

Viewers are invited to participate in the interplanetary journey during the City of Beverly Hills’s B.O.L.D. Holidays (Beverly Hills Open Later Days) Evening Art Walk with the Mayor on Saturday, December 2 from 5–7PM PT, and the gallery will remain open to the public until 8PM.

For further information please contact the gallery at [email protected] or at +1.310.271.9400. All images are subject to copyright. Gallery approval must be granted prior to reproduction.

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Contact: Courtney Raterman, [email protected]