At the end of the summer, for one week only, hundreds of giant fantastical sculptures and whimsical roving vehicles appear, then disappear like a shimmering mirage in the Nevada desert. We’re talking about Burning Man, the notoriously free-spirited annual spectacle that has occupied a dry lake bed outside Reno for nearly 30 years.
Depictions of Burning Man tend to focus on the hedonistic antics of attendees, but from the beginning, when its co-founder, Larry Harvey, burned a wooden effigy as a summer solstice ritual on a San Francisco beach in 1986, art has been part of its DNA, and increasingly the museum world is taking notice. When Burning Man started selling tickets in the mid-1990s, it began giving away artist grants. That support, now totaling around $1.3 million annually, plus quiet funding from Silicon Valley, has allowed Burning Man’s art projects to grow in ambition and quality.
A generation of volunteers spawned more artists, turning Burning Man into “an informal but very effective art school,” as Mr. Harvey put it. Pointing to these apprentices and what he called “enlightened patronage,” he sees parallels in the blossoming of art at Burning Man and the Italian Renaissance, its art theme in 2016. > New York Times, Read More