I was reading about Frederick Church and that he had visited the American West and South America– these, which were at the time, very exotic places. And then he made paintings of these places that people had never seen before. And in doing so, introduced this entirely new landscape to the public that people were very excited to see. And I thought, Wow, that’s exactly what I want to do: to build a table-top landscape in the studio and then make paintings of it. So the paintings become a record of this exotic place that existed temporarily, but something no one will ever see in person.
As Burri’s retrospective continues at the Guggenheim through January 6, a review from 2008