Before "Urban Light," Burden's most famous work was 1971's "Shoot," for which he stood in a gallery in Santa Ana and let a friend shoot him in the arm with a .22 rifle from 15 feet away. In an appreciation for Burden published yesterday, New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz writes that the piece turned the artist's body into "A living sculpture come to dangerous life in the blink of an eye, sacrificing for his work while enacting a complex sadomasochism of love, hate, desire, and aggression." Burden's early art was full of violence, mostly self-directed; he made the agony of artistic creation literal, and public.
Medium: Performance at the University of California Irvine
Dates: April 26, 1971 - April 30, 1971
At the University of California, Irvine, Chris Burden locked himself in Locker Number 5 for five consecutive days. He rigged the locker above him to hold five gallons of bottled water, while the locker below him held an empty five gallon bottle ... Five Day Locker marked the beginning of Burden's early body works, where his performances centered around physical feats putting his own body under duress.
(1) and (2) - http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/05/the_story_of_chris_burdens_urban_light_los_angeless_first_great_landmark_of_the_twentyfirst_century.php
(3) - http://www.complex.com/style/2013/10/chris-burden-art-new-museum/five-day-locker