The creative artwork unveiled each year at Burning Man never ceases to amaze the crowds lucky enough to attend the event. While many people were not able to venture to Black Rock City to take part, the good news is that there is still a chance to see some of the unique pieces from the playa, thanks to an exhibition that has been touring the US. 

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HYBYCOZO, Trocto, 2014 © Courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California.

Organised by the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man is now on display at Oakland Museum of California, and features iconic sculptures, immersive installations and interactive artworks from the iconic cultural event in the Nevada desert.

Running until 16 February 2020 in OMCA’s Great Hall, the exhibition includes large-scale pieces on display throughout the museum’s public spaces and outside, including a specially-commissioned 40-foot-tall outdoor temple by sculptor David Best. A companion exhibition within the gallery called City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man has been organised by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, and traces Burning Man's origins from its countercultural roots in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Photograph by Leo Nash of the Man following its construction in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1995 © Collection of Nevada Museum of Art. Center for Art + Environment Archive Collections. Gift of Michael Mikel

“Over the past 30 years, Burning Man has grown to become one of the most innovative and awe-inspiring cultural events in the country, hosting more than 300 art installations in the harsh desert environment each year,” said Lori Fogarty, OMCA Director and CEO. “We couldn’t be more excited to showcase some of the spectacular works—many made right here in Oakland—that were once shown on the Playa, bringing our visitors a taste of the creativity and radical self-expression of this community.”

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Duane Flatmo, Tin Pan Dragon, 2006 © Courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California

No Spectators also features jewellery, gifts, costumes, “mutant” vehicles, photography, paintings, artefacts, and other items. Many of the featured artworks invite visitor interaction and touch. Over the course of the exhibition, volunteers from the community will help guide visitors in hands-on craft activities inside the gallery.

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David Best, Temple of Reunion, 2019 © Courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California.

Sunday, 19 January see OMCA hosting free Playa Pop-Ups, including campus-wide activities led by Burning Man volunteers and artists that encourage visitor engagement.

More information on No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man and the special events connected to it at the gallery are available at the official Oakland Museum of California website.

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