For most of his bad-boy career, Chris Burden has emphasized the “boy” over the “bad.” Indeed, as you’d infer from its title, there’s something “good,” or at least centered and spiritual, about Yin Yang, Burden’s display of two items (plus photo editions) from his collection of vehicles. One of the polarities is a nearly pristine 1973 Lotus Europa, a lightly built race car designed for speed and little else; the other is a rusty, mud-caked 1950-something T6-crawler bulldozer, evidently used almost daily on Burden’s Topanga property. Each occupies the same amount of floor space, but the T6 weighs more than three times what the Lotus weighs. You get the picture — and you get a sense of repose in the presence of these contrasting machines. More boyish is the brief film showing in the back documenting Metropolis, an elaborate mechanized chute-and-conveyor-belt city Burden fabricated several years ago using Lego and Hot Wheels pieces. With its stolid buildings, coursing mini-monorail and tangle of elevated highways, this Futurist wet dream looks like one of those sci-fi metropoli from the ’30s (or earlier ±— think of Fritz Lang’s namesake film from 1927). It also looks like modern-day Tokyo; no surprise it was commissioned by a “museum of the 21st century” in Japan.
Marion Lane drives in fewer lanes, but in their gnarled, decorous efflorescence, her compact abstractions — some studded with small, buttonlike protrusions — radiate a surprising amount of visual energy. These almost icinglike acrylic accretions cake and crackle and seethe like lava, but they also quiver and wink like some sort of animated jelly with a sense of humor. This anthropomorphic inflection works more with the inanimate formations than with those that resemble trees and other plants. Perhaps those goops and gobs are flora as well, fungi and protozoa suddenly magnified and imbued with personality. Chris Burden at Gagosian, 456 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills; Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; thru Aug. 10. (310) 271-9400. Marion Lane at BLK/MRKT, 6009 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Tues.-Fri., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., noon-6 p.m.; thru July 28. (310) 837-1989.