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How Chris Burden turned $1 into something priceless

To the editor: I was introduced to the world of performance and conceptual art in a class at the San Francisco Art Institute taught by artists Chris Burden and Barbara Smith when I was an exchange student there in 1978. ("Chris Burden dies at 69: artist's light sculpture at LACMA is symbol of L.A.," May 10)

Burden's assignment for one class was for us to create "art," with the only limitation that we spend no more than $1 on the entire work. I trekked to the Hibernia Bank off Market Street and got a crisp, newly minted bill.

In class the following week I took out the bill, reminded Burden and the class that we were fortunate to have one of the world's preeminent artists at hand in our instructor, and then asked that he sign the bill, which he dutifully did. Several classmates immediately offered me many times the value of the bill, which has likely increased with his premature passing.

Ged Kenslea, North Hollywood

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