Mesmerizing Metropolis

I took advantage of my LACMA membership tonight and was handsomely rewarded.

Members were offered a sneak peek at Chris Burden’s ‘Metropolis II.’

I loved it before I even saw it. As soon as you enter the building you can hear it. The buzz. Insert excited childlike wonder here. We quickly headed (maybe skipped) toward the hum and found ourselves in the presence of mechanical genius.

That’s 1100 Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars whizzing around the tracks. You know, in case you lost count. (Side note: How awesome is the word whizzing?!)

Some Assembly Required

Metropolis II used to be on display in Chris’ studio in the valley. We learned (through a convo with a very knowledgeable docent-type young lady) that  it took him about three months to take the structure apart and then another four-to-five months to rebuild it at LACMA.


The museum has it on loan indefinitely. I can’t say enough how fun it was to stand there and watch. Mesmerizing was the best word I could come up with. And there are so many angles from which to look at it. Two floors of them in fact.

View From Above

Imagine the fun of those race tracks you had (or your older brother had) when you were a kid times a million. Except you have to subtract the fact that it’s not hands on or participatory in any way. I really REALLY wanted to be riding in one of the cars. (“Honey I Shrunk the Kids” style, natch!) If I couldn’t ride in one I wanted to flag one and trace it’s path around in a race against other grown-up children. I tried to follow a car but they go so fast!! It’s worse than those games they play at baseball stadiums on the big screen.


As mesmerizing as it was for me as a semi-adult, I can’t imagine how mind-blowing it must be for a little kid. Especially one into cars. Or trains. Because yeah, there are those too.

Neighborhood of Make Believe

I just read something where Chris (I feel like he wouldn’t mind being on a first-name basis with me) created Metropolis II as some sort of projection of what the future of LA traffic will be.

After reading that, I’m excited to learn that in the future, LA will look a lot like Paris.

Ooh la la!!!

But seriously. This guy Chris Burden has my number when it comes to creating awesome sculptures. Urban Light is one of my favoritest things in LA.

I did not take this awesome picture.

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