Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Review: Burning Man: Art on Fire

For decades now I have been discussing, ranting, and raving about how fine art fairs have become the epicenter of the art world, as well as how outdoor art festivals are also a key component to the tapestry of the visual arts.

Let me add to that what is perhaps the greatest single week-long art happening in the history of the planet: Burning Man.

The description of the event goes like this:

For one week every August, a remote Nevada desert becomes Black Rock City, the home of Burning Man where 80,000 participants build a temporary city devoted to creativity and community. There is no money, no running water—and there are no constraints. Artists bring enormous sculptures for participants to climb. Outrageous Mutant Vehicles glide through an opulent mirage. This is a dreamscape of permission. For seven days and nights, the artistic movement of our time materializes—and then disappears without a trace.

Burning Man: Art on Fire (Epic Ink | July 4, 2023 | $45.00 USD), is a gorgeous new and completely revised, expanded edition book illustrated with over 250 spectacular color photos. 

The book is a labor of love by Jennifer Raiser; "a writer, nonprofit leader, and Burner." 

It is also two talented photographers' insight into the raw, unlimited power of human creativity when allowed to unleash itself once a year. The photographers are Washington, DC born Scott London, who has been documenting the art and culture of Burning Man for nearly two decades, and Brazilian-born photog Sidney Erthal.

This authorized collection also includes: 

  • Over 150 new photographs and descriptions of individual pieces of Burning Man art from over two decades, including art from the 2022 Burning Man event
  • Over 32 new pages featuring incredible sculptures and Mutant Vehicles
  • A fully updated text, which considers Burning Man’s evolving significance in the art world, and how Burning Man is the art movement of our time
  • A foreword from Burning Man CEO and Co-Founder Marian Goodell
  • A new epilogue about the growing importance of Burning Man art beyond Black Rock City and throughout the art world, including museum exhibits, public art, and over 100 regional Burning Man events worldwide
  • A tribute to Burning Man Founder Larry Harvey, with highlights of his philosophical approach to art

The art created and often destroyed for Burning Man is an important and unique addition to the fine arts world.

In fact, I believe that it is the most significant “art happening” on the planet, and as this book and the associated documentary proves, it is art on a scale of objects nowhere else achieved, and perhaps barely imagined by such minds as Christo’s, as well as a vibrant and imaginative riot of people who often become art objects and subjects themselves.

Burning Man: Art on Fire, Revised and Updated Edition publishes July 4, 2023. 

You can order it here.