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Timothy Marrinan, Richard Dewey
USA 2016 / 90’

Before taking the stage of avant-garde performance art, Marina Abramović began tearing her hair out, while Chris Burden went all out all the time in his courageous game of art and death. Seeing that he specialized in high-risk activities, he was indeed lucky to live to 69, his age when he passed away last year. Known as the "stuntman of art," he enclosed himself in a school locker for five days equipped only with a water-supply tube, was crucified on the hood of a Volkswagen Beetle, and rolled around naked on a floor covered with shattered glass. His best-known performance was Shoot (1971), where he allowed himself to be shot at a gallery by a former army buddy. The bullet was only meant to graze him, but his friend missed the target, and Burden ended up in an ambulance; over time, the paramedics became regular visitors at Burden's performances. His sadomasochistic expression-full of anger and revolt-was a sign of the times, a furious fist thrust in the direction of a system that was sending students to Vietnam. The film includes chilling video footage, as well as much more moving scenes, such as Burden's last interview before his death, in which he wonders whether it makes sense to be a victim in the name of art.

Ewa Szabłowska

Timothy Marrinan, Richard Dewey

Tim Marrinan is a British documentary filmmaker living in London. Burden is his full-length debut. He has also made short films about art and culture. Richard Dewey is a journalist who has written for The EconomistWhitewall, and Modern Painter. This is his directorial debut.


2016 Chris Burden – portret artysty / Burden

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Cast & Crew

director Timothy Marrinan, Richard Dewey
screenplay Timothy Marrinan, Richard Dewey
cinematography Joe Anderson, Chris Ferguson, Warren Kommers, Marrinan, Jason Mann
editing Aaron Wickenden, Michael Aaglund
music Andrew Bird, Roger Goula
cast Chris Burden, Ed Moses, Charles Hill, Larry Bell, Billy Al Benston, Robert Irwin, Bruce Dunlap, Barbara Smith, Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci, Larry Gagosian, John McEnroe, Peter Plagens, Frank Gehry
producer Timothy Marrinan, Richard Dewey, David Koh, Josh Braun, Dan Brau
sales Dogwoof
language English
colouration colour & b&w