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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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?’”
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 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.
All photos by Ron Blunt – courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.