Heavy Metal: Solid Gold Structure Exhibited in New York

'Tower of Power' by Chris Burden

‘Tower of Power’ by Chris Burden

Visitors to the New Museum in New York over the course of their current exhibition, could be forgiven for thinking that they’ve in fact taken a wrong turn and ended up in a bank vault.

Their current show stopping piece is a sculpture by Chris Burden comprised entirely of 100 kilograms gold ingots to the value of £2.6 million. The structure, rather straightforwardly named ‘Tower of Power’, sees gold bars stacked up like a loosely structured Ancient Egyptian pyramid. Small human figures encircle the tower in apparent awe and worship.

The art work is placed below the waist level of viewers; allowing themselves to tower over the structure. Thus a hierarchy is established from worshippers to wealth, with the human body presiding over the whole scene perhaps indicating that life is the most important component in this wealth cycle.

Chris Burden

Chris Burden

The piece only just opened at the Burden retrospective this weekend, but is already causing a stir. It has been described as brash by many as some cite the 1985 piece as being unwelcome to an modern audience in the grip of a recession.

Indeed, the tower is evocative of the pyramids of Ancient Egyptian wealth; a flash back to lavish worship and dominance by the top of society.

Others have spoken about the tremendous security required to guard the installation within the museum; which includes a designated security guard being present twenty four hours a day. Ironically, whilst the Tower of Power is intended to be a symbol of and testament to wealth, some have expressed concern that these security measures are slowly crippling the museum financially.

New Museum in New York, which is currently home to the Chris Burden exhibition.

New Museum in New York, which is currently home to the Chris Burden exhibition.

Either way, it’s an impressive piece and the art work lacing the conversations of art lovers throughout New York. Visitors can currently see the Tower of Power within the city’s New museum by entering one by one and sharing the moment with the security guard. With such a polarising installation, we expect that visitors can’t fail to be moved by the sight of the piece; whether they are shocked by the wealth, impressed by the artistry or simply feel awkward to be standing alone in silence with a security guard.

Chris Burden’s retrospective, ‘Extreme Measures’ is on show at the New Museum New York until January 2014. To find out more about the exhibition and for details on how to visit, click here.

What do you think of the lavish art work? Have you had the chance to see it in New York yourself? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below or click here to join the conversation on the Fawn Review facebook page!