This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.
What My Dad Gave Me - Chris Burden
June 11 – July 19, 2008
Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th
“The essential character of the toy,” Agamben writes “is something quite singular, which can be grasped only in the temporal dimension of a ‘once upon a time’ and a ‘no more,’ the toy is that which belonged – once, no longer - to the realm of the sacred or of the practical-economic… What the toy preserves of its sacred or economic model, what survives of this after its dismemberment or miniaturization, is nothing other than the human temporality that was contained therein… [the toy] makes present and renders tangible human temporality in itself…” It seems to be precisely this tangibility that Chris Burden pursues with his What My Dad Gave Me, a six-story building constructed entirely from toy-parts in the erector-set mold on display at Rockefeller center through Saturday. Indeed, by utilizing his toys on a scale equal to the actual buildings that inspired them, Burden has found a way of emphasizing Agamben’s distinction even more vividly – making the difference between the toy and its inspiration not simply obvious, but singular, what with the loss of a discrepancy in size. And for anyone who has sought to professionally pursue something they loved as a child, the effect is startlingly poignant. After all - what is left for our childhood desires amidst the praxis they (presumably) spawned? It is a question begged beautifully by Burden as he makes a six-story cacophony of time’s quiet passing. Presented by the Public Art Fund.