(b Boston 1946) American performance artist, Chris Burden was born in Boston and studied at Pomona College before receiving his M.F.A. from the University of California in 1971. He gained a reputation as a controversial artist in the 1970s after a number of his performance pieces put his health in danger. Particularly alarming was his 1971 performance entitled Shoot, in which he had an assistant shoot him in the arm at close range. Burden explained his risky behavior by saying that performance art was an arena where he could express himself after graduating from school when he had little money. Burden moved from performance art to large-scale sculpture in the eighties, hinting at his original interest in architecture and engineering. His work continues in this vein today, building monumental replicas of skyscrapers out of erector set toys.