A Tale of Two Cities, 1981
144 x 480 x 360 inches
Museum purchase with funds provided through prior gift of Ben C. Deane
Chris Burden's Tale of Two Cities, first executed in 1981, is a large-scale installation that challenges social and economic infrastructures, the military and the nation-state. The work has its source in the artist's fascination with collecting war toys, bullets, model buildings, and antique soldiers. Initially conceived as an ongoing battle that would evolve over the life of the display, the installation is Burden's fantasy about the twenty-fifth century, a time when he imagines the world will have returned to a system of feudal states. The miniature reconstruction of two such city-states, poised for war, incorporates five thousand war toys from the United States, Japan, and Europe.