Chris Burden’s Metropolis II is considered the most expansive Hot Wheels set-up ever conceived. This amazingly intricate installation using old Hot Wheels toy racing cars by Burden (a performance artist most famous for endurance pieces such as Trans-fixed, in which he nailed himself to the back of a Volkswagon Beetle and Shoot, in which an assistant shot him from five feet away, as well as being name-dropped in a David Bowie song and a Norman Mailer book) is truly a sight to behold. An expansion of Burden’s own Metropolis I, which saw 80 cars in action, Metropolis II – four years in the making – features 1200 cars circulating around 18 lanes of a giant steel freeway! Burden’s monumental piece currently resides at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
As Burden was starting his project, another duo – Osaka-based artists Yasuhiko Hayashi and Yusuke Nakano, who go by the name Paramodel – were completing theirs: a sprawling, epic trail of plastic racing tracks that created a giant graffiti-like diorama. Their plastic racetracks have appeared in galleries all over Japan since 2005, as well as in natural outdoor locations as public art installations.
- Kier-La Janisse