No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" @ SAAM. Photo by Ron Blunt.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” @ Renwick Gallery/SAAM. Photos by Ron Blunt courtesy of SAAM.

Burning Man – The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum showcases No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, a large-scale exhibition featuring some of the most iconic – and already burnt to ashes – architectures of the famed festival which takes place every year in the Black Rock City temporary metropolis.


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No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" @ SAAM. Photo by Ron Blunt.

The festival is one of the most influential events in contemporary art and culture gathering over 75.000 people to populate Black Rock City, a temporary city responsibly rising from its own ashes around the end of August in the Nevada desert. For just a week, cutting-edge artworks invite “burners” to explore the maker culture, ethos, principles and creative spirit.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" @ SAAM. Photo by Ron Blunt.

Several designs first built in the desert have been recreated inside the museum. On show works by Candy Chang, Marco Cochrane, Duane Flatmo, Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti, Five Ton Crane Arts Collective, Scott Froschauer, Android Jones and Richard Wilks.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" @ SAAM. Photo by Ron Blunt.

These artists represent the creative spirit of the contemporary maker movement and the ongoing importance of craft in the digital age,” Explains Smithsonian American Art Museum director Stephanie Stebich.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" @ SAAM. Photo by Ron Blunt.

They range from members of the art world, the tech community and beyond. Their work asks questions such as ‘what does art look like when it is separated from commercial value?’ and ‘why do we continue to make in the 21st century?’

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" @ SAAM. Photo by Ron Blunt.

David Best’s “Temple” installation @ No Spectator.

For the first time, the Renwick exhibition expands beyond its walls through an outdoor extension displaying sculptures throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Artist and frequent Burning Man participant David Best has installed his version of the Temple, built each year at the festival to a different design.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" @ SAAM. Photo by Ron Blunt.

Art Cars @ No Spectators.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man traces also the movement’s growth and bohemian roots of the festival by featuring art-cars, costumes, jewelry, video and photography by artists and designers who join in Burning Man.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" @ SAAM. Photo by Ron Blunt.

Fashion and costumes @ No Spectator.

All photos by Ron Blunt – courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" @ SAAM. Photo by Ron Blunt.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" @ SAAM. Photo by Ron Blunt.