Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Jeff Burke’s Paradise Circus Debuts at LA Art Show

If you’re in Los Angeles this week for the LA Art Show, be sure not to miss the epic installation by JT Burke presented by the Los Angeles Art Association. The interactive sculptural piece, The Paradise Circus Los Angeles 2015, brings his signature collage pieces (which he masterfully assembles digitally from his vast collection of vintage jewelry) to larger than life!

Production view Paradise Circus Los Angeles 2015

Los Angeles – J.T. Burke will exhibit his immersive sculptural installation, The Paradise Circus Los Angeles 2015, at the LA Art Show from January 14th to 18th 2015. Burke’s allegorical work uses music, photography and his uniquely collaged visuals as a way of processing fundamental and deeply personal questions about religion, the afterlife, exclusionary orthodoxies, ritualized behaviors and shared mythologies.


This ambitious, large-scale installation is Burke’s first serious effort at a three-dimensional artwork and will be a main attraction at the upcoming LA Art Show. Sponsored by the Los Angeles Art Association, The Paradise Circus Los Angeles 2015 is a 16’ tall, metal and canvas structure designed to be a mash-up of confession booth, cathedral steeple and circus tent. The Circus is wrapped inside and out with his unique style of digital imagery that combines photos of vintage costume jewelry into colorful and elaborate new forms. Viewers are invited to enter the interior booth, kneel and open the slider to witness Paradise.

Production view interior steeple panels Paradise Circus Los Angeles 2015

Recording artist Mocean Worker collaborated with Burke to create Angus Dei Tuvan Bali Calliope, the “soundtrack to paradise” that loops inside the installation. This non-rhythmic, dreamy audio track features the sounds of boys’ choir, strings, Balinese Gamelan, Tuvan singers, whale noises, harps and a calliope.


Burke characterizes the The Paradise Circus Los Angeles 2015 as “a lighthearted lampoon of traditional religious mythologies, and a gentle poke at institutional rituals and strict orthodoxies. I created this work because I wonder what lies beyond this mortal life, and I suspect those who claim to know. The mysteries of the afterlife simply cannot be explained in concise ways. The Paradise Circus questions authority and challenges each of us to consider our place in the cosmos.”

Art critic Shana Nys Dambrot writes about this work, “… comedy can go a long way toward defusing tensions and broadening access to complex ideas. Of course, sometimes it makes things worse, adding to perceived disrespect regardless of intention. But artist JT Burke is willing to take that risk. For Burke, the allegory of Paradise Circus Los Angeles 2015 is not really about satirizing any individual faith per se, his own or anyone’s — it’s more about shining a light on the absurdity of killing one another over competing theories of the unknowable. If this sounds like a dark path for public art to take, then you know why Burke chose to light it up with wit.”

You can view Paradise Circus Los Angeles 2015 at the LA Art Show January 14th through the 18th, 2015.

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