At Large  September 11, 2019  Chandra Noyes

9 Stunning Art Installations from Burning Man 2019

flickr/Steve Jurvetson

Every year tens of thousands of revelers gather in the desert of Nevada to build and then destroy a pop-up civilization. The legendary festival known as Burning Man has many champions and critics. Once a fringe gathering of artists and makers looking to cut loose, the festival has now reached the mainstream, due in part to a wildly popular exhibition at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.

In case you couldn't make it to Black Rock City and the Playa this year, here are nine stunning art installations from this year's Burning Man.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Laura Kimpton's big, block letter light-up installations are a perennial favorite at Burning Man. This year Kimpton kept it simple and universal with 'LOVE'.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This year's eponymous Burning Man, designed by artist David Best, did not disappoint. A towering temple with a rudimentary skeleton on top, it completed its mission in style, by burning to a crisp.

flickr/Ron Gilbert

Bright green and over seventy-five feet tall, Michael Tsaturyan's Slotnik, an inflatable elephant, was a fun sculpture with a serious message: raising awareness for elephant abuse.

flickr/Steve Jurvetson

Dave Keane's rambling The Folly brings to mind Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe. Built from lumber recovered from San Francisco's Victorian mansions, it is meant to bring the comfort and community of home to the desert.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Burning Man always includes a memorial temple, a place honor the dead through notes scrawled on the walls, and then watch your grief burn at the festival's end. This year's The Temple of Direction, designed by Geordie Van Der Bosch, "is organized linearly... [which] reflects the passage of life; all lives have a beginning, a middle and an end which metaphorically is included in this temple's form."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Olivia Steele, who is known for her glowing neon text installations, brought the burn to this year's Burning Man. Replacing her usual glass tubes with ignited propane-filled iron, this year's 'Truism' is ". . a Tribute to all those great ones we’ve loved and lost, and the ones who we had to leave behind."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Pieced together using scrap metal and refuse by artist Tahoe Mack, The Monumental Mammoth pays tribute to Tule Spring National Monument’s, where mammoth fossils were recently recovered.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Appearing to defy physics, Stone 27 floats above the playa, inviting visitors to climb a tottering loop of stairs. Benjamin Langholz's balance of delicate wires and dense boulders create an "alternate reality where destructive energy has been harmonized with nature to create moments of physical and mental elevation."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Skywhale: The Not Shy Whale turns the open blue sky of the playa into the depths of the ocean. Swimming above the desert in the wind, artist Blake Marcus doubly embraces this year's festival theme of metamorphosis by turning the sky into a canvas.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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