There has never been a large-scale art show that focused solely on Burning Man — until now.
City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man puts more than 300 items that cover 31 years of Burning Man history on display at The Nevada Museum of Art in Reno from July 1, 2017, to Jan. 7, 2018. These items — curated from more than 6,000 pieces archived by the Center for Art and Environment — take museum attendees on a journey from the first few days at Baker Beach in San Francisco when the event was free and welcomed 20 attendees in 1986 all the way to today’s Black Rock Desert that has capacity for 70,000 and fetches a $425 ticket price.
The exhibit is broken up into three galleries. The first sets the historical stage, covering Baker Beach and the counterculture days in San Francisco. The second is all about the Black Rock Desert and focuses on civic design, ritual, and art. The third and final gallery suggests what the future might hold for Burning Man, while also breaking down the event’s global impact. This gallery also includes a viewing room for a 20-minute video, created by the NMA, that is based on the exhibit, and will be available online soon.
“[The exhibit] lets the objects tell the story,” said Amanda Horn, director of communication at the Nevada Museum of Art. “There is something for everyone to learn.”
The relics include early blueprints, never-before-seen photographs, artifacts, journals, sketches, “all working to reveal how this temporary experimental desert city came to be.”
The NMA will also be offering 19 related courses and events over the duration of City of Dust’s tenure at the museum. Most recently this will include Art on the Playa and Beyond: Community, Participation and Interactivity and Ladybee on
Playa Made Jewelry.
Art on the Playa and Beyond is a discourse between Burning Man experts Crimson Rose and Maria Partridge who will tell the story of public art and civic activity in Black Rock City. “Interactive Community Collaboration is the context for creativity that blurs the distinction between audience and art form. People are transformed from spectator to participant and are given permission to become active contributors to the creative process,” according to the museum’s website.
At her Aug. 4 event, Ladybee will talk about the playa’s gift economy. She will lead a conversation about her personal collection of jewelry, the makers featured in her collection, and her recent book The Jewelry of Burning Man.
And, it is a show that everyone can enjoy.
“Regardless of if you have been to Burning Man, you are from this area, and this show is worth coming to,” Horn said. “It is a new lens to look through that will clear up any misconceptions.”
After wrapping up in January, City of Dust will travel to the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Museum of Art in Washington, D.C., in spring 2018.
Pinhole Project Comes to Truckee Rec Center
A little closer to home, The Truckee Community Recreation Center welcomes art from The Pinhole Project to their gallery through October.
The Pinhole Project is a Burning Man camp that began in 1999. Participants take large-scale pinhole photographs of people, art, and events at the Black Rock Desert, which they develop on-site in a shipping container dark room, and then display all over the playa throughout the week.
“Our aim is to document the people, art, and events at Burning Man each year, while we teach others to explore their creativity through this 100-year-old technique of pinhole photography,” according to the group’s Facebook page.