“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” was produced in collaboration with the Burning Man Project, the nonprofit organization responsible for producing the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, Nevada, and is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2019. FoldHaus, Shrumen Lumen, 2016. Photo by Ron Blunt.
Photo: Ron Blunt Architectural Photogra/Image by Ron Blunt Architectural
Photo: Ron Blunt Architectural Photogra/Image by Ron Blunt Architectural

WORTH THE DRIVE: More art to be unveiled for ‘Burning Man’ exhibit in Cincinnati this weekend

The Burning Man phenomenon is now officially in full swing. 

From giant mutant art vehicles and creative costuming to immersive gallery-sized installations, “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” is now underway at at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

The second phase of the exhibit that will include more art opens on June 7, 2019.

The first phase opened in April. Both phases of the exhibition will close Sept. 2, 2019. 

“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” was produced in collaboration with the Burning Man Project, the nonprofit organization responsible for producing the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, Nevada, and is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2019. Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti, The Paper Arch, 2018. Photo by Ron Blunt
Photo: Ron Blunt Architectural Photogra/Image by Ron Blunt Architectural

Consistent with the Burning Man principle of gifting, “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” will be on view to the public for free. General admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is also free. 

“It is one of the most influential movements in contemporary American art and culture,” said Cameron Kitchin, Cincinnati Art Museum’s Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director. “The visual culture created in conjunction with the Burning Man gathering each year is a democratic and inclusive model of artistic expression. Working with the thinkers and artists who create the culture challenges the very notion of an art museum.” 

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“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” was produced in collaboration with the Burning Man Project, the nonprofit organization responsible for producing the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, Nevada, and is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2019. Richard Wilks, Evotrope, 2009. Photo by Libby Weiler.

The exhibition will take over much of the museum, exploring the maker culture, ethos, principles and creative spirit of Burning Man. The exhibition was organized by Nora Atkinson, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; it debuted at the museum’s Renwick Gallery in spring 2018. 

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In addition to the over-sized sculptures, the exhibition will feature jewelry, video and photography by artists and designers who participate in Burning Man. Ephemera, archival materials and photographs will be on view in the companion exhibition “City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man,” organized by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno; it will trace Burning Man’s origins from its countercultural roots to the world-famous desert convergence it is today. 

“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” was produced in collaboration with the Burning Man Project, the nonprofit organization responsible for producing the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, Nevada. The Burning Man community has been instrumental in suggesting artworks for inclusion in the exhibition.

“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” was produced in collaboration with the Burning Man Project, the nonprofit organization responsible for producing the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, Nevada, and is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2019. Duane Flatmo, Tin Pan Dragon, 2006. Photo by Libby Weiler

Visitors to the exhibition will experience works by contemporary artists Candy Chang, Marco Cochrane, Duane Flatmo, Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti, Five Ton Crane Arts Collective, Scott Froschauer, Android Jones and Richard Wilks. Also included are the FoldHaus Art Collective, Aaron Taylor Kuffner, HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu), Christopher Schardt and others. 

David J. Brown, guest curator for the exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum said, “The highly imaginative art that happens in the desert is fueled by the Burning Man Community, where everyone contributes their imagination and capabilities to support radical co-creation. The Ten Principles support the notion that everyone is a radical artist, be radically involved, and radically celebrate who you are. The art that is created reflects this beautiful idea.” 

A variety of public programs will accompany the exhibition. Information will be available in the spring on the museum’s website. The public can follow the museum’s social media accounts for exhibition updates and share their exhibition experiences with the hashtag #NoSpectators. 

Phase I, which opened April 26, includes many large-scale installations and sculptures including Shrumen Lumen (Foldhaus), Truth is Beauty (Marco Cochrane), Evotrope (Richard Wilkes), Paper Arch (Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti), Tin Pan Dragon (Duane Flatmo), Gamelatron (Aaron Taylor Kuffner), Capitol Theater (Five Ton Crane), Nova (Christopher Schardt), Lake of Dreams (Roy Two Thousand), and a showing of the Nevada Museum of Art's City of Dust, featuring historical archives, photography and ephemera.  

Phase II includes an array of additional artworks and include more room-sized installations, eclectic couture and both intimate and large scale photographs — including some submitted by Burning Man participants responding to an Open Call organized exclusively by the Cincinnati Art Museum. Visitors can share their dreams by writing on the museum walls with Candy Chang’s Before I Die; immerse themselves in the patterns and lights of Hybycozo’s geometric shapes, and delight in the interplay between fashionable headdresses made for the Playa and Android Jones’ intergalactic prints.  

Phase II also includes an outdoor artwork designed by a group of students from the University of Cincinnati (UC). Described as “a space that honors memory, emotion, experience and transformation," the artwork is built entirely from invasive honeysuckle harvested from the museum grounds. Named InVasive, it was assembled with the help of volunteers from UC, the local community, and regional Burning Man networks. 

Visitors to InVasive are encouraged to engage in ways that quietly celebrate the complexities and challenges of existence. Stillness, meditation, offerings and ceremonial actions are only some ways to create meaning, which gains its value through interactions.

“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” was produced in collaboration with the Burning Man Project, the nonprofit organization responsible for producing the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, Nevada, and is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2019. Christopher Schardt, Nova, 2016. Photo by Ron Blunt.
Photo: Ron Blunt Architectural Photogra/Image by Ron Blunt Architectural

“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” is organized by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Support for the Cincinnati presentation of this exhibition is provided by the August A. Rendigs, Jr. Foundation.  

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