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Downtown Seattle will hold a scale model of the solar system

Pluto will be at the Seattle Art Museum; the sun will be at the Seattle Art Fair

The sun from Chris Burden’s solar system model.
© 2018 Chris Burden / licensed by The Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Photo: Jeff McLane / Courtesy Gagosian

Seattle Art Fair is this weekend, August 2 through 5, and although it’s at Centurylink Field Event Center, it often comes with surrounding installations. This year, a scale model of the solar system will stretch across downtown Seattle and Pioneer Square, a new installation of a 1983 work by late, provocative artist Chris Burden.

Starting with the sun at the art fair booth for New York gallery Gagosian and stretching to the Seattle Art Museum, the model is to scale both in size and distance at one inch to a trillion inches. This puts a distance of just 36 feet between the sun and Mercury to a mile between the sun and Pluto. (Controversy over Pluto’s planetary status aside, the sculptures were crafted more than 30 years ago.)

Because the scale is so small, the installation creates a bit of a scavenger hunt. The sun, which in real life is about 865,000 miles in diameter, is easier to spot at 13 inches, but Earth, located in the art fair’s Cafe Lounge, is just .12 inches—and even Jupiter, located at Centurylink Field’s Pro Shop, is just 1.33 inches. By the time you reach Neptune at Diva Dollz at First and Columbia, you’re searching for a .12-inch globe. Pluto, already itty-bitty on a planetary scale, is just .5 inches across.

A map shows various locations for to-scale planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are all located inside the Seattle Art Fair. Jupiter is at Centurylink Field. Saturn is in the Provident Building. Uranus is at the London Plane. Neptune is at Diva Dollz.
A map of the solar system installation.
Courtesy of Gagosian

Chris Burden, who died in 2015, was known for both dangerous performance art—most infamously his 1971 work “Shoot,” when he had a friend literally shoot him with a .22—and large-scale, interactive public art.

The installation should be up and running August 2, and will be on view through the end of the fair on August 5.