Woodbury University Visiting Prof. Jason Keller Creates Homage to Performance Art Pioneer Chris Burden

Public Squeezes Into Confines of ‘Locker Number 5’ Replica In Tribute to Late Artist at L.A.’s Actual Size Gallery


LOS ANGELES (March 2, 2016) – Memorializing the work of influential performance artist Chris Burden, Woodbury University Visiting Prof. Jason Keller has created an homage to Burden’s seminal “Five Day Locker Piece” (1971) with his recent Locker Number 5 installation at the Actual Size Gallery in Los Angeles. Keller, a visiting professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Transdisciplinarity, taught in the art history department from 2007-13.

Chris Burden’s extreme performances often involved putting himself in harm’s way, as he famously did in his 1971 performance, “Shoot,” in which Burden had an assistant shoot him in the arm at close range. For Burden’s locker piece, he crammed himself into a two-foot by two-foot by three-foot storage locker without food for five days.

Keller and his collaborator on the piece, James Melinat, sought retain the dangerous flavor of Burden’s oeuvre while also enabling gallery visitors to experience the joy of literally getting inside the artist’s work, and indirectly, his mind, by entering a facsimile of Burden’s original 2’x2’x3′ locker (https://vimeo.com/154652792).

“Since documenting so much of Burden’s early performance relies on photography, anecdote or leftover evidence, Locker Number 5 was a chance to bring the people of Los Angeles a little closer to the moment where Burden may have had his earliest artistic insight,” Keller said. It was an opportunity, he noted, to think inside the box while also opening galley-goers’ minds to the larger possibilities of performance art and adventurous installations, and how they can intersect with audience expectations and experience.

“Re-presenting this cramped but now inhabitable space gives rise to a viewer’s own experiential understanding, a glimpse into what such a work may mean once experienced, collapsing the mental idea introduced through history into a physical moment provided by art,” he said.

For Keller and Melinat, the homage is also a return in another sense, since Burden’s art was profoundly influential to both as alumni of UC Irvine, where Burden first performed his seminal work.

Keller, a multi-disciplinary creative, has a background in contemporary art that informs much of his professional practice. Since 2012, he has taught Experience Design at Woodbury and is co-creator of Los Angeles Eats Itself, a series of dining-based multicourse meals/art events that explore L.A. history through a unique culinary and artistic lens. His work attempts to reinvigorate the transformative potential of art through the social science of behavioral economics to create compelling large-scale designer experiences.

About Woodbury University
Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. With campuses in Burbank/Los Angeles and San Diego, the university offers bachelor’s degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and College of Transdisciplinarity, along with a Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Media for Social Justice, Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Interior Architecture (MIA), Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch), Master of Leadership, and Master of Arts in Media for Social Justice. The San Diego campus offers Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture, Master of Interior Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture degrees, as well as an MSArch degree with a concentration in Real Estate Development and Landscape + Urbanism.  Woodbury ranks 15th among the nation’s “25 Colleges That Add the Most Value,” according to Money Magazine and is a 2014-2015 College of Distinction. Visit woodbury.edu for more information.

Media Contact
Ken Greenberg
Edge Communications, Inc.
(323) 469-3397
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