Aerial Photography of Black Rock City Documents the Historical Evolution of Burning Man

Compass of the Ephemeral includes a collection of Will Roger’s photographs chronicling the ever-changing cityscape and transformation of Black Rock City, home to Burning Man and one of the harshest climates in the continental U.S. The book traces the history and transition of Black Rock City from a few thousand people in the late 1990s to the growing metropolis required to support over 70,000 citizens today.


As the first director of operations of the Burning Man event, Will Roger worked alongside the other five founding board members and all others involved to ensure that Black Rock City becomes a reality each year and then vanishes without a trace.

He was instrumental in creating numerous foundations for the event; he established the Department of Public Works (DPW), a workforce of volunteers dedicated to building and deconstructing the physical infrastructure of Black Rock City. Will also actualised an FAA approved airport, and conceived traditions such as the Gold Spike Ceremony, a pre-event commemoration for the builders of Black Rock City, as the first stake is placed in the ground to survey and build the future city. > Read More

Feature: My Green Pod

Book Preview: Compass of the Ephemeral @ Nevada Museum of Art

Nevada Museum of Art

Join author, photographer and co-founder of Burning Man, Will Roger as he reveals his newest book which includes a substantial collection of Roger’s aerial photos chronicling the ever-changing cityscape and transformation of the temporary Black Rock City. This program will feature a panel discussion between Will Roger, Crimson Rose and William L. Fox, Director of the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art, moderated by James Stanford.

Doors open at 5 pm with bar. Book signing to follow. > Register Here

Radical Inclusion and Tales from the Playa - Session 2

Join SAAM, five of the original founders of Burning Man, artists from No Spectators: the Art of Burning Man, and other Burners for a day of storytelling, short films, and discussions about the history of the event and the important role of art in its culture.  For more information, please visit the Cultural Tourism DC Calendar.

By clicking the image below, you will be cued to Will Roger’s Q&A with Megan Miller of Burning Man, as well as many other notable speakers.


Burning Man Goes to Washington

Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson, “Ursa Major” (2016) (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson, “Ursa Major” (2016) (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

In an exhibition opening March 30, the Renwick Gallery has transported some of that Burning Man spirit to its more buttoned-down environs a stone’s throw from the White House. For the first time at the Renwick, an exhibition is spilling out of the museum’s doors onto the streets of downtown DC, with six large sculptures, including “Ursa Major,” taking up residence on sidewalks and medians through a partnership with the downtown-area Golden Triangle Business Improvement District.

Inside the museum, the Renwick will show 14 installations that were displayed at Burning Man or were commissioned from Burning Man artists, along with smaller artwork, handmade jewelry, costumes, photos, and memorabilia. No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man is so large and technically complex that the entire museum was closed to the public for almost a month, the first time the museum has closed for an extended period since reopening in 2015 after a two-year renovation. > Hyperallergic, Read More

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man  at the Renwick Gallery, installation view (photo by Ron Blunt)

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man at the Renwick Gallery, installation view (photo by Ron Blunt)

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man | Smithsonian American Museum of Art


Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)

Each year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, a city of more than 75,000 people rises out of the dust for a single week. During that time, enormous experimental art installations are erected and many are ritually burned to the ground. The thriving temporary metropolis known as Burning Man is a hotbed of artistic ingenuity, driving innovation through its principles of radical self-expression, decommodification, communal participation, and reverence for the handmade. Both a cultural movement and an annual event, Burning Man remains one of the most influential phenomenons in contemporary American art and culture.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man brings the large-scale, participatory work from this desert gathering to the nation’s capital for the first time. The exhibition takes over the entire Renwick Gallery building, bringing alive the maker culture and creative spirit of this cultural movement. Immersive room-sized installations, costumes, jewelry, and ephemera transport visitors to the gathering’s famed “Playa,” while photographs and archival materials from the Nevada Museum of Art trace Burning Man’s growth and its bohemian roots.

In addition to the in-gallery presentation, the Renwick is expanding beyond its walls for the first time through an outdoor extension of the exhibition entitled No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick, displaying sculptures from Burning Man throughout the surrounding neighborhood in partnership with DC’s Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID).

Large-scale installations—the artistic hallmark of Burning Man—form the core of the exhibition. Individual artists and collectives featured in No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man include David Best, Candy Chang, Marco Cochrane, Duane Flatmo, Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti, Five Ton Crane Arts Collective, FoldHaus Art Collective, Scott Froschauer, HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu), Android Jones, Aaron Taylor Kuffner, Christopher Schardt, Richard Wilks, and Leo Villareal. Multiple installation sites have been selected throughout the neighborhood surrounding the museum for No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick, which will include works by Jack Champion, Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson, HYBYCOZO, Laura Kimpton, Mischell Riley, and Kate Raudenbush. > Read More, Smithsonian American Museum of Art


FoldHaus,  Shrumen Lumen , 2016. Photo by Rene Smith

FoldHaus, Shrumen Lumen, 2016. Photo by Rene Smith


City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man

If you start talking about an event that takes place about 100 miles northeast of Reno in the desert in late August, most people in our area, and beyond, will know immediately that you’re talking about Burning Man.  

Burning Man has become a cultural institution worthy of a museum exhibition. “City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man” runs from July 1 to January 7 and then in the spring of 2018 it will travel to the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. 

The exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno traces the history of Burning Man from its modest San Francisco origins to a yearly event that attracts tens of thousands of people to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.  

“The genesis of this exhibition really began about four years ago when our Center for Art and Environment, which is the research arm of the museum, acquired a major archive of materials related to the history of Burning Man,” said Ann Wolf,  John C. Deane Family Senior Curator and Deputy Director of the Nevada Museum of Art.  > Read More, Fred Wasser of KNPR  


The Founders of Burning Man

The Founders of Burning Man


Rare Burning Man Photos, Journals, Artifacts Coming to Nevada Museum of Art

The exhibition traces the more than three-decade evolution of an event that has morphed from a bohemian beach gathering in San Francisco in 1986 to the modern-day 68,000-person pop-up city in Northern Nevada's Black Rock Desert each year. 

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Provocative Portraits Exhibit at Sierra Arts Foundation

Will Roger Peterson uses a Nikon F-4 and Leica M-4 with normal lenses and Tri-X and T-max 400 film. Peterson brings black-and-white stills to life with an intense motion effect, created by using a one-second exposure, and strobe and spot lights while the subjects move. While erotic in the fact that his subjects are nude, the gesture and movement in the photos augment the expression of sexuality. And while the images contain little identity, they are filled with expression -- some dream like, some grotesque, all unusually titillating. 

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Will Roger Peterson's Portraits, Reno Tahoe Tonight

Fresh off a three and a half week run last month at Las Vegas' Sin City Gallery, Provocative Portraits by Will Roger Peterson is featured in Reno Tahoe Tonight magazine in an exclusive interview. Peterson's Portraits challenge and engage the viewer through balletically collaborative still to live studies that employ photographic techniques that dramatically capture movement and gesture in his subjects, while conveying an emotional compendium of eroticism, euphoria, danger, freedom, whimsy.  

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Provocative Portraits Exhibit at Sin City Gallery

The enchantment of erotic art has had a long history. From the explicit picture by Gustave Courbet L'Origine du monde to the sublimated metaphors of French Rococo painting, and the mystery of Victorian pornography, there has always been a dialogue between the explicit and the abstract in erotic art, and it is this dance that defines eroticism. For the artist Will Roger Peterson, the subject is one of celebration and performance. Exploration, spirituality, freedom and artistic expression are fundamental.

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Event Horizon, A Documentary on Burning Man

The film explores Burning Man's history, some of the myths and misunderstandings that surround and sensationalize Burning Man's culture, and how the event has come to survive, grow, and evolve by working closely with its neighbors. The film focuses on the challenges and benefits brought to Reno and its sibling communities which serve as the final outposts of civilization to these migrations, and on how Burning Man principles are permanently transforming the local arts and culture.

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