A quick spin through Chris Burden’s Metropolis II


It’s no secret around these parts that I’m a big Chris Burden fan. So of course I’ve been breathlessly awaiting the unveiling of his newest sculpture, Metropolis II at LACMA. It opens this Saturday but I got a sneak preview at the press conference, which I wrote about in my review for the LA Weekly. Still photos don’t do it justice, but hopefully my images and words can entice you to go see it in person. Which you must!


It’s gigantic: It takes up an entire room at LACMA. And it’s loud.


1,100 customized Hot Wheels cars move up a conveyor belt and then are released down 18 plastic tracks.


It’s like the 405 + the 101 + the 5 + the 10.


25 skyscrapers are made from everything from Legos to slotted stacking cards like the Eames Office designed.


An operator has to stand at the center to make sure no cars get flipped over or fly off the tracks. That’s also why it can only run for 90 minutes at a time, a few days a week.


Here’s LACMA’s Michael Govan talking to Chris Burden.


And Chris Burden pointing out some of the structural features.


Some parts don’t really look that different from downtown LA.


I fell in love with this little village bookended by two churches.


I was also wondering if these green panels were supposed to be parks.


Among the cars are a dozen electric trains that chug from one end to another. But they go very slow.


There are two Erector Set towers that nod to Burden’s work What My Father Gave Me, which I photographed in New York City.


And these travertine-like walls reminded me of the Getty.


The Eiffel Tower de Los Angeles!


Lincoln Logs give a nice faux-rustic look to what appears to be a very nice condo building.


Some of those Eames stacking cards. I want a real building in LA that looks like this.


Run, don’t walk to see this when it opens. Well, I suppose it would be appropriate to drive to this exhibition. As long as you don’t get stuck in traffic. Hours of operation here.

Read my review in the LA Weekly (there’s also a video there).

More Metropolis II photos.

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  • William Noetling

    Went to look at this today based on your recommendation, it’s truly an amazing piece.  I was also overwhelmed by the sheer number of people visiting LACMA today.

  • Alissa

    So glad to hear it, and thanks for reporting back!

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