Metropolis II – Chris Burden (LACMA)
Although I spent most of my time in the Japanese Art Pavilion due to its reflective and calming atmosphere, the work that I connected with most in regards to our class was Metropolis II by Chris Burden. The work is a kinetic sculpture depicting a scaled, fast-paced modern city with miniature cars, 18 roadways, buildings, and trains. His idea is that “The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars produce in the a viewer the stress of livening in a… 21st century city”. I always believe that the best pieces of art (in whatever medium) are those that evoke real life emotions. I find this piece to be associated with the Expressionist movement, due to its ability to evoke a real emotional experience. Although Expressionism is meant not to capture the external world, I feel that this piece is a very dramatic version of our own world, cars do not really speed at the 240 scaled miles per hour, freeways are not that closely interwoven, especially around buildings, and there isn’t 100k cars so close together in real life. However, being in the room and actually viewing the object for yourself is necessary because in just a picture of the piece you cannot hear the cars, your eyes cant race in an attempt to follow just one car, and you do not feel bigger than life from an image. Being in that room sincerely evoked a sense of stress and angst from my heart and mind due to the loud noises, cramped room, and the always-prevalent thought of “what if a car flips off the edge or causes a crash?” In the same gallery, oddly juxtaposed with Metropolis II, a piece making you feel like a Giant, is a piece in the next room that was a large mountain, Grand Canyon-esque steel construction which made the viewer feel insignificantly small and surrounded. Both pieces fill the observer with a sense of angst.