The Big Wheel
Chris Burden has often used his art practice to explore technological innovations and the history of engineering. The Big Wheel is a kinetic sculpture in which the revving of a motorcycle engine sets a massive iron wheel in motion for a protracted two and a half hours, revealing the processes of energy transfer and storage. A sculpture rooted in ideas of performance, a medium that the artist radically explored in his earlier works of the 1970s, The Big Wheel epitomizes Burden’s fascination with modern machinery and 19th-century industry.
Chris Burden (b. 1946, Boston; lives and works in Los Angeles)
The Big Wheel, 1979
Three-ton, eight-foot diameter, cast-iron flywheel powered by a motorcycle
112 x 175 x 143 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Lannan Foundation