Michael Heizer, Isolated Mass/Circumflex, 1968—aerial view
Chris Burden, Five Day Locker Piece, University of California, Irvine, April 26-30, 1971.
In the May 1976 Artforum Robert Horvitz wrote,
The site chosen was one of a number of storage lockers already installed in a school studio. He placed a five-gallon container of water in the locker above and a similar, initially empty, container in the locker below (he had access to both through concealed tubes). Burden entered his tiny (2’ x 2’ x 3’) locker knowing that he would emerge in five days, but without knowing what the experience would be like or how others would respond:
“It was an experiment. I wanted to see what would happen. I thought this piece was going to be an isolation thing, but it turned into this strange sort of public confessional where people were coming all the time to talk to me. At first, just my friends and the other grad students knew about it. Then it started building up, rumors were spreading. The university’s a pretty big place and people who weren’t interested in art, specifically, came over just to see this guy locked in a locker. I think that the further away you were from this, the more strange it seemed, and I noticed that when people actually came to talk with me, they were reassured in a way… Pretty soon, the campus police were involved, and they didn’t know what to do. And then, the Dean of Fine Arts found out about it and he was real panicky. There was a debate about whether or not they should try to pry me out with crowbars. And there was nothing I could do. Just toward the end I got panicky myself. I started getting that weird feeling that a REAL crazy was going to come and do something to me. There were periods of time when I was alone and I knew my vulnerability might inspire someone to do something crazy. But that was only toward the end…” [FOOTNOTE: from a lecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, November 12, 1974]
Another graduate work. For those that slept.
Now it feels like five thousand Locker Pieces at once, all the time.