L.A.P.D. Uniform, 1993
Artist: Chris Burden
Created in response to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, L.A.P.D. Uniform alludes not only to the violence of that landmark incident, but also to the power of the police to inflict violence as well as to protect us from it. Burden frequently employs a radical change of scale, using toys or toy-like objects to stand in as symbols of actual or potential destruction. In L.A.P.D. Uniform, he seizes our attention with 30 reproductions of an enlarged version of a police uniform. The uniform, made for an officer seven-feet, four-inches tall, includes a badge, a baton, and an actual gun. The number, size and forms of this piece allows the work to retain powerful meanings even when divorced from its original context. The viewer becomes child-size, disempowered, and vulnerable. Or are we protected and shielded?