Everyone wants to see the art at Burning Man, but not everyone has the time, energy, money or physical strength to actually travel to Black Rock Desert in Nevada to live among the wild installations for a week at a time.
Good thing the Smithsonian Institute isn’t a stuffy place full of wig-headed bureaucrats. It’s actually a place that cares about living culture, no matter how heady, and it’s latest exhibit, “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man,” brings you face to face with some of the annual festival’s most intriguing designs.
“Because we are a major national institution that really is about telling the American story and that is open and free to the public, it seemed like in some ways a match made in heaven,” Renwick Gallery’s Lloyd Herman curator of craft Nora Atkinson says in a promotional video. “This was a unique opportunity to look at Burning Man really as part of the American story a this creative laboratory that’s linked with maker culture, that’s linked with technology, that’s linked with many of the most innovative minds in our country and that is sort of an outside part of the art world that hasn’t been looked at before in the museum setting.”
Tech plays a huge role in the exhibition. Where there was fire, there are now colorful LEDs, so the Smithsonian won’t be endangered any time soon. The Smithsonian also worked with some of the Burner artists to create sculptures that were placed outside the museum in its Washington, D.C., neighborhood, making this exhibition the literal largest in the museum’s history.
This year’s Burning Man is, of course, already sold out, but access to the Smithsonian exhibit at the Renwick Gallery is free. “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” is open now through Jan. 21, 2019. Visit the exhibit online for more details, and watch the sick promo clip below.