J.T. Burke's Paradise Circus Rolls into LA Art Show this January

  • LOS ANGELES, California
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  • December 17, 2014

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Production view of Paradise Circus Los Angeles 2015 by J.T. Burke.

 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.


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.”

Artwork panel from Paradise Circus Los Angeles 2015 by J.T. Burke.

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.


Jeffrey Thomas Burke (JT Burke) was born in 1957. He received a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1981 and an hon MS from Brooks Institute of Photography in 1999. Burke worked for many years as a commercial photographer, cinematographer and graphic designer. His photo-based work has been exhibited in Barcelona, Bristol, New York City and throughout southern California. In 2014 Burke won the Robert Brown Award during the Brand 42: Works on Paper exhibit at the Brand Library in Glendale. Burke’s unique image style combines together digitally manipulated, original photography to create scenes of exuberant life and utopian bliss. J.T. Burke lives and works in South Pasadena, California.  www.jtburke.com

Mocean Worker is a musician who has worked on numerous projects for commercials, television and feature films. He has published seven albums and his music has appeared in numerous compilations. Mocean Worker lives and works in South Pasadena, California  www.moceanworker.com

The Los Angeles Art Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide opportunities, resources, services and exhibition venues for Los Angeles artists, with an emphasis on emerging talent. Founded in 1925, LAAA has launched the art careers of many celebrated artists and has played a central role in the formation of Los Angeles' arts community. www.laaa.org

The LA Art Show, the 200,000 square foot art fair that welcomed more than 50,000 art enthusiasts to the Los Angeles Convention Center last year, will celebrate its 20th Anniversary at the upcoming 2015 event. Founded in 1994, the show has grown from a small regional event featuring 14 galleries to become the largest and longest running platform for fine art, bringing in more than 120 galleries representing 22 countries. www.laartshow.com

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