The Art Newspaper has a story on the conservation of Chris Burden’s Tale of Two Cities, owned by the Orange County Museum of Art. After decades in storage, the 1981 work—representing a post-apocalyptic war and made of 5000 Japanese, American, and European war toys—was in bad shape. Burden proposed blowing it up: “The work of art would still exist, but it would be rubble.” OCMA preferred a more reversible intervention. With the artist’s permission, damaged toys were replaced with duplicates bought on eBay and secured to new aluminum base elements. Two Cities is now on view in New York in the New Museum retrospective “Extreme Measures.”
This may or may not end the tale. Burden’s contract with OCMA allows him to make changes in perpetuity.