Home & Design

During Burning Man, thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Photo by Neil Girling

“Maya’s Mind," a cast-cement sculpture of Maya Angelou by Mischell Riley. Photo by Darrell Ansted

Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti's “Totem of Confessions” at Burning Man, 2015. Photo by Michael Holden

Creative Spirit

The Renwick celebrates the innovative art of Burning Man

Creative SpiritEach summer, experimental art comes to northwest Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. A city of 75,000 people rises in this unlikely spot for Burning Man, a gathering of artists whose interactive installations create a temporary hotbed of artistic exploration. Visitors to this remote spot can commune with these monumental works of art with the desert as a backdrop.

Beginning March 30, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum will offer another way to experience Burning Man. A museum-wide exhibit, “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man,” will focus on the festival’s maker culture, ethos and art—showcasing works first created at Burning Man as well as installations by perennial Burning Man artists such as Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti, HYBYCOZO and David Best. An outdoor extension, “No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick,” will bring large-scale, immersive artworks to the surrounding neighborhood. Among the offerings: giant bronze crows by Jack Champion in Murrow Park and a 20-foot-long steel XOXO sculpture by Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg at Farragut West Metro.

The first floor of the Renwick exhibit closes September 16 and the second floor closes January 21, 2019. The outdoor installations remain on view through December. americanart.si.edu/nospectators

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