Anyone who has ever had to build or remodel any sort of structure in L.A. has run into the quagmire of complex codes and the challenges of getting permits. Chris Burden, famous artist, is no different but his frustrations born of trying to build a studio on his property in rural Topanga in 1991 led to designs for another of his original structure. "Quasi-Legal Skyscraper," now on view at One Colorado in Pasadena, is his answer to the question, "what's the biggest building you can build legally without a permit?" The answer is 35 feet tall and 400 square feet.
This is a loophole skyscraper built by architects Linda Taalman and Alan Koch to Burden's specifications, made of steel beams, with wood floors, no windows or walls but a cut out square on three floors for a one man elevator.
This sculpture is in keeping with Burden's ongoing series of structural speculations such as Urban Light, the collection of old light posts in front of LACMA or his many erector set bridges. However, Burden had planned to study architecture when he first enrolled Pomona College and his first performances often had an awareness of architectural conditions. Though he probably remains best know for having himself shot as a performance in the early 70's, it is architecture, history, urban studies that have been his primary interests for decades.
The Quasi-Legal Skyscraper originally was presented on its side at LACE by Irene Tsatsos, who is now director of the Armory Center for the Arts, which sponsored the installation, on view through November 1. It could be seen next on the roof of the New Museum in New York when Burden has his "Introspective" there at the end of 2013.