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The Art of Burning Man: From the Desert to DC

Evening Program

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 – 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1L0203
Shrumen Lumen (detail) by Foldhaus, at the Renwick Gallery (Smithsonian American Art Museum/Ron Blunt)

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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, many of which are ritually burned to the ground. The thriving temporary metropolis known as Burning Man is as much a movement as an annual event, and remains one of the most influential phenomenon in contemporary American art and culture.

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

Join Stephanie Stebich, the Margaret and Terry Stent director of the American Art Museum, as she provides an overview of the exhibition, as well as insights from her own experience at Burning Man in 2017.  

In conjunction with the exhibition, a collaboration with the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) titled No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick fills Washington’s central business area with six outdoor sculptures from Burning Man. The partnership marks the first in which the Renwick has featured artworks in the streets and parks in the surrounding neighborhood.

Note: This option does not include any separate tours.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit

Smithsonian American Art Museum
McEvoy Auditorium, 8th & G Sts NW
Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown