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Burning Man 2017 and Beyond

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday August 31, 2017


For all the would-be burners out there who were unable to snag a $475-ticket to this year’s festival—yes, the 40-second window didn’t work for most—this DART page is devoted to the phenomenon known as Burning Man. Since 1986, revelers from far and wide have trekked to the temporarily constructed Black Rock City, located in Black Rock Desert, for a week of art, music, dancing, and 'radical' self-expression. Above: The sun sets on the playa as approximately 70,000 people from all over the world gathered for the annual Burning Man arts and music festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada on August 28, 2017. Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

Launched in 1986 by Larry Harvey and Jerry James, Burning Man began as an end-of-summer celebration attended by 20 or so artists on Baker Beach, below the Golden Gate Bridge. I guess you could call it a Labor Day Weekend bacchanalian barbeque with art – notably a wooden effigy of a man that was set on fire for the last night.

 


Participants explore the playa by bike during the 2017 Burning Man Festival on August 28, 2017. Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

Flash forward to 1991, when the number of people wanting to participate outnumbered the capacity of the neighborhood beach, Burning Man by then had evolved into an unstoppable movement. After a few false starts, the festival hired urban planner Rod Garret to organize an infrastructure for Black Rock City, the sprawling temporary town that springs up each year in the Nevada desert, a 2-hour drive from of Reno.

 


Anita Vranckx, of Belgium, hangs from the E of an Earth sculpture on a dusty morning on the playa 2017 Burning Man Festival on August 28, 2017. Photo: Andy Barron/The Reno Gazette-Journal/AP

In a 2011 interview for the New York Times, industrial designer Yves Béhar called Mr. Garrett “a genius in creating a city plan for [then] 50,000 Burners that was expressive, practical and a source of inspiration to all visitors of Burning Man… I wish all cities had such a spirit of utopia by being built around human interaction, community and participation.”

 


Pili Montilla dons a headdress and poses in the sun above Black Rock City during the 2017 Burning Man Festival on August 29, 2017. Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

So began the Black Rock City festival familiar to most through media coverage. It has evolved over the years, becoming so large and difficult for its now-700,000 attendees to get into that the Nevada Art Museum has organized an exhibition that tracks the festival from its humble beginnings to cultural phenomenon it has become. City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, continues through January at the museum. Info The exhibition will next appear at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, as No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, opening in March, 2018. Info Burning Man 2017 Info All photos here were collected from the New York Daily News Info

 

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