Chris Burden- “Shoot”

Chris Burden “Shoot”

Chris Burden’s piece “Shoot” caught my attention when I first saw it because it

was such an out there piece that involved physical harm to the artist voluntarily. The characteristics of the piece are well planned except for the actual shot and where it hits the artist. The setting is within a gallery in an open space to transform the horrible thought of a person being shot into a new light, as art. The audience for this piece was invited and knowledge of the event spread only by word of mouth from those invited. This aspect is important, Burden needed an audience because he believes that seeing things visually is more impactful than hearing about them, so he chose to enact being shot and have people see. He has stated that you don’t know what it is like to be shot until you are shot, so he had to figure it out himself realistically. I really like this concept, as it is an interesting way to think and even live life. As human beings we must go out into the world and have experiences and learn from them, although this does not mean we must go out into the world and shoot one another, but it is a drastic example that has a lot of meaning behind it.

The audience and the actual event of the piece occurring in 1971 is the true piece, photos and videos of the performance are just a form of documentation, those who watch it or see photos will not feel the same tension and excitement in the room as those who were there, which is another important aspect of the piece. Burden has used performance art to capture the essence of reality and its importance; that it is important for everyone to endure and experience things in their lives for real if it is to have an impact. Again this is another great thought, as we should cherish every moment in our lives because the memory of it will never be as impactful and emotional as when it actually happened. I like the drama of the piece and the important meanings behind it because of how it subtly makes these references to real life.

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