Opening This Weekend: Metropolis II

Ever since the first word about Chris Burden’s piece Metropolis II started making its way through the halls of LACMA’s offices, there has been excitement among the staff. Even before we saw the initial images that came to us from the artist’s studio, we were all making up what it would look like in our heads. But we couldn’t have imagined how awesome this complex kinetic sculpture would be.

The first glimpse I caught of the piece was in the truly beautiful short documentary made by Catfish’s Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. The pair spent three days with Chris Burden at his studio filming the sculpture before it was disassembled and moved to LACMA.

We had two unannounced preview days for Metropolis II in December for testing purposes. Staff and visitors alike stood around in awe.

Chris Burden, Metropolis II, installation shot, © Chris Burden, image © Museum Associates

Here are a few stats on the piece:

  • The cars are attached by a small magnet to the conveyor belt that brings them to the crest.
  • The only motorization of the cars is the conveyor belt to the top.
  • Once the cars cross over the crest and head downward, their entire movement is by gravity.
  • They travel at a scale speed of 240 mph, plus or minus.
  • The tracks they take are Teflon coated to reduce friction.
  • The tracks are beveled at 7 degrees to give added torque for speed when
    they come through corners and curves.
  • The trains are out of the box electric train sets that run on electricity.

Metropolis II opens to the public this Saturday, January 14. It runs at scheduled times, so check this page for when it will be running. Member previews start Thursday.

Alex Capriotti

20 Responses to Opening This Weekend: Metropolis II

  1. This piece of art is awesome. I can hardly wait to see it in person.
    The film is very well done and gives a good glimpse into what we will actually see.

  2. ingridearle says:

    Incredible, what a fascinating statement for 2012

  3. Blooie says:

    Can this please come to New York City!! Looks Fantastic!

  4. Anonymous says:

    fantastic I have to go with my husband and family to see it .

  5. sarabeth says:

    we just saw it yesterday with our grandsons who are 8 and almost 6. We thought it was poetic, historic, amazing, fantastic, incredible, indescribable (words of the 8 year old). THANK YOU CHRIS BURDEN for making such an incredible city..

    go see it..it’s only going to be at LACMA for 10 years…haha

  6. oz says:

    fabulous, thrilling, exciting, nostalgic, awe striking, smile lifting monumental model

  7. E-Z MEYER says:

    MY 3 & 4 YEAR OLD BOYS WERE SPELLBOUND FOR A WHOLE 15 MINUTES [THAT IS AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF TIME IN DOG YEARS]- I COULD HAVE STAYED FOR HOURS BUT A BIG GRASS HILL WAS CALLING OUR NAMES FOR ROLLING DOWN. THIS IS A “MUST SEE” FAMILY EVENT.

  8. Sunshine says:

    My Future 40 Year Old Husband to Be said, “That was, That was, That was, That was, That was AMAAAZing! ;-)

  9. crystalsung says:

    I cannot wait to see it!

  10. crystalsung says:

    It took four years to build.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Muy interesante…. si la exposición viajase a Madrid podríamos admirarlo de primera mano… ¡pero 4 años para montarlo!
    Un saludo.

  12. There’s certainly a lot to find out about this issue. I love all the points you have made.

  13. PETER B says:

    i saw an item on a tv program about metropolis ii, here in the UK.We are visiting LA in june, this is high on my list of must see attractions,brilliant .

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow!!!!! This is an amazing piece of art/engineering.. Mesmerizing, incredible. Definitely worth a trip out to go see.

  15. ramon says:

    it is a beautifull city but, the trafic in Mexico city is worse…

  16. artgod1 says:

    This is way harder than the statue of David or a Rembrandt.

  17. wongbooks says:

    This is the 5th time I’ve seen Metropolis 2. I’m not trying to set a record but it certainly is addictive.

  18. Love how he had to say “my BMW” instead of “my car”… haha!

    But it looks fantastic!

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