Plan your visit:

How much does it cost to see No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man at the Cincinnati Art Museum?
In honor of the Burning Man principle of Gifting, No Spectators will be on view to the public for free. You do not need a ticket. General admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is free. Parking is also free. If you are inspired by the Gifting principle, donations are encouraged and appreciated. You can make donations in person at the museum or online by visiting cincinnatiartmuseum.org/annualfund

How many artworks are in the exhibition and where can I find them?
The exhibition literally features hundreds of works placed throughout the museum. The exhibition starts as you leave the front lobby, but can be experienced in a variety of ways. Look for our radical and fun signage and explore the entire museum in the process.

What types of artwork are in the exhibition?
In addition to the large-scale sculptures, the exhibition will feature immersive sound environments, mutant vehicles, jewelry, costumes, videos and photography by artists and designers who participate in Burning Man. Ephemera, archival materials and photographs from a condensed presentation of City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, organized by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, will trace the movement’s growth and bohemian roots.

What is the timing for the exhibition?
The exhibition will be presented in two parts. The first phase opens on April 26, 2019 and the second opens on June 7, 2019. Both phases of the exhibition will close September 2, 2019, the same date that Burning Man 2019 ends on the playa.

Is food and drink allowed in the exhibition?
No, food and drink are not allowed in the galleries. You can enjoy food and drink in our Terrace Café or Coffee Bar (located in the Front Lobby).

Can I take photos?
Yes, we encourage visitors to take photos and post on social media using the hashtags #NoSpectators and #CincinnatiArtMuseum. Tripods and selfie sticks are not allowed. Professional photography must be pre-arranged with the museum’s Marketing Department. For more information, please email [email protected]

Can I touch the artwork?
Visitors are encouraged to touch only the artwork featured in the No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man exhibition. Look for “Please Touch” signage located next to the appropriate artwork.

Are there tours?
Yes and No. This exhibition can be best experienced with a self-guided tour. We are not offering public tours of special exhibition No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, however, we do offer public tours of the museum’s permanent collection Tuesday–Sunday at 1 p.m.  On occasion, regional ‘burners’ will act as docents, giving unique tours from their personal perspective. Dates and times to be announced.

Will there actually be fire?
Burning Man without a fire is just ‘Man’. Out on the playa, both the Man and the Temple are burned on separate nights. The Man burn is a festive event while the Temple burn is solemn and spiritual, giving participants the opportunity to grieve and remember lost ones. Flames are not allowed inside the museum or on museum grounds, however, a Temple will be constructed outdoors that will be burned off-site.

Will there be any events/special programs associated with the No Spectators exhibition?
In a word: plenty! Here are some of the upcoming events, but please check our online calendar for additional events and programs. 

  • Art After Dark | April 26, 2019, 5–10 p.m.
  • Family First Saturday: Art in Motion | May 4, 2019, 12–4 p.m.
  • Gallery Experience: No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man | May 5, 2019, 3–4 p.m.
  • Artist Workshop: Radical Fashion | May 18, 2019, 1–3 p.m.
  • Beyond Black Rock | June 7, 2019
  • Artist Workshop: Burning Man | June 15, 2019, 1–3 p.m.
  • Gallery Experience: Let the Burner Be Your Guide | June 23, 2019, 3–4 p.m.
  • Gallery Experience: Dancing with No Spectators | July 14, 2019, 3–4 p.m.

Is this a family-friendly exhibition?
Yes, all ages are invited to view this interactive exhibition. Only one or two small artworks contain nudity but many more artworks, like the mushrooms invite children (and everyone else) to interact with them.

We also encourage families to visit our Rosenthal Education Center (REC) on the first floor. Starting May 4 and running through the end of the exhibition the REC will feature a new interactive theme, Express Yourself! Inspired by Burning Man’s principle of radical self-expression, the REC will explore wild ways artists represented in the museum’s permanent collection have chosen to express themselves throughout history. Interactives will include an immersive interactive art installation by guest artist Pam Kravetz, a wacky dress up station and opportunities to create some fun wearable art to take home.

Will visitors with accessibility needs be able to enjoy this exhibition?
The museum and exhibition are accessible to persons with disabilities. The museum provides wheelchairs and strollers free of charge located in the coat rooms by each entrance. Elevators are available for use throughout the museum. The museum’s accessible entrance is the DeWitt entrance, with parking and access at the rear of the museum facility.

Can you walk barefoot in the museum?
For safety and health reasons we ask visitors to wear attire including shoes and shirts.

 

About Burning Man about No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man:

What is Burning Man?
Happening every August in Nevada’s inhospitable Black Rock Desert, a thriving metropolis rises from the playa dust for a single week. During that time, many societal norms are put on hold as a unique community emerges based on ten guiding principles that includes radical self-expression, collaboration, and a glorious gift economy. Multi-story art structures and massive, interactive art installations are erected and explored; some are burned to the ground and at the end of the week, the city vanishes without a trace.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man offers some of the stunning, sometimes participatory works that has emerged from this annual gathering by many of the artists and collectives who have become synonymous with the event. The exhibition also celebrated its importance to the American story as one of the most influential cultural events of our time.

Burning Man has always been difficult to characterize. Variously called an arts festival, a bacchanal, and a utopian experiment, it exists outside the boundaries of everyday life, where immediacy and serendipity reign. Attendees call it transformative. Its organizers describe it as “a city in the desert, a culture of possibility, a network of doers and dreamers.”

Now, just over 30 years since it originated as a small bonfire on San Francisco’s Baker Beach, it draws over 70,000 participants annually, rivaling the largest art fairs worldwide, and has evolved beyond its temporal limits into the largest year-round “intentional community” in the world. For more information about Burning Man visit http://burningman.org/timeline and/or http://burningman/org/culture/history/brc-history/

What are the 10 Principles of Burning Man?
They were crafted in 2004 by Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception. 

  1. Radical Inclusion
  2. Gifting
  3. De-commodification
  4. Radical Self-reliance
  5. Radical Self-expression
  6. Communal Effort
  7. Civic Responsibility
  8. Leaving No Trace
  9. Participation
  10. Immediacy

Learn more at https://burningman.org/culture/philosophical-center/10-principles/

Terms:

The Burning Man community has developed its own distinctive lexicon over the years. Below is a glossary of a few useful, irreverent, and colorful terms. 

 

Art car (also known as Mutant Vehicle): Motorized conveyance that is radically and safely modified. Licensed by the Burning Man DMV (department of mutant vehicles), these vehicles are an important part of the Burning Man experience–not only are they stunning, moving works of art, they also represent the multi-faceted ways to experience Burning Man.

Black Rock City (BRC): The annual, temporary metropolis that is home to the Burning Man event.

Burners: One who pursues a way of life based on the values reflected in the Ten Principles of Burning Man.

Center Camp: Large circular area located in the center of Black Rock City (due south of The Man (see below)). Burners may purchase coffee, lemonade and energy drinks here. One might also engage in activities like an open mic, acoustic music, paintings/photographs, yoga, acro-yoga, and various types of juggling and spinning.

Cacophony Society: An influential source of many of the concepts and principles of Burning Man, the Cacophony Society was “a randomly gathered network of individuals united in the pursuit of experiences beyond the mainstream.” Many of Burning Man’s founders were members of the San Francisco group.

Darkwad: Anyone who walks or rides on the playa at night without adequate lighting on the front and back of his/her person or vehicle.

DBS: Decorative Bullsh*t. A term coined by artist David Best to describe the layers of unorthodox ornamentation he and his crew apply to the temple.  

Decommodification: One of the Ten Principles of Burning Man. “In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.”

Deep Playa: The area of open playa beyond the Man and past the Temple in all directions, particularly the outer realms near the perimeter fence.

Default World: The rest of the world that is not Black Rock City during the Burning Man event.

Esplanade: The street that makes up the inside curve of the half-moon that is Black Rock City. The entire street is comprised of Theme Camps (see below).

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out, a harmless mental disorder caused by the overwhelming scope of things to do and see in Black Rock City. May lead to sleep deprivation.

Java Cow: Community legend of a man-cow who appeared with hot coffee at sunrise on the morning of the Burn, asking: “Do you want cream or sugar?”

Man, The: The giant piece of art resembling a man that is the namesake of the event. It is built by the Burning Man Organization (BMORG) and is burned on the Saturday night during the event.

MOOP: Matter Out of Place. Litter, debris, rubbish.

Mutant Vehicle: A motorized conveyance that is radically, stunningly, (usually) permanently, and safely modified. Larry Harvey likens Mutant Vehicles to “sublimely beautiful works of art floating across the playa like a Miro painting.”  

No Spectators: A central tenet of the Burning Man philosophy. By blurring the line between audience and performer, everybody is a superstar at Burning Man.

Open Playa: The portion of the playa that is within the pentagonal event space, but is used for art installations and Mutant Vehicle cruising rather than camping space.

Playa: The Spanish word for beach, also used to describe dry lake beds in the American West such as the Black Rock Desert.

Playa Chicken: Community legend concerning a rare species of vicious, carnivorous poultry reputed to live in the Black Rock Desert. Any strange phenomenon that is not readily attributable to a known cause may be blamed on Playa Chickens.

Playa Dust: The dried silt of Lake Lahontan, the prehistoric lakebed that is now the Black Rock Desert. Its alkaline pH makes it corrosive, and its extremely fine particles get into just about everything.

Playa Name: Originally spawned by the need for unique names on the staff’s two-way radios, playa names have become almost ubiquitous and are sometimes used to provide an individual with an “alternate” personality or persona. Playa names are traditionally given to a person, rather than taken on.

Sparkle Pony: Derogatory term for a participant who fails to embrace the principle of radical self-reliance, and is overly reliant on the resources of friends, campmates, and the community at large to enable their Burning Man experience. Often fashionably attired, since they packed nothing but costumes. 

TAZ: Temporary Autonomous Zone, a term coined by writer Hakim Bey. Burning Man isn’t one.

Theme Camp: A group camp designed to create an interactive experience for participants through art, architecture, and/or performance.

Temple, The: A structure organized by the BMORG, located in a direct line from the 6 p.m. (Center Camp) on the Esplanade, to the Man, and onwards out to the trash fence. During the week of the event, people write thousands of memorial messages to people or animals they have lost, or leave burnable reminders of them. On the final Sunday of the event, the Temple is burned in an event of general solemnity.

Theme Camp: A campsite which artistically presents an idea or concept and is designed to create an interactive experience for participants.

White-out: A violent dust storm producing near–zero visibility.

Supplemental information:

Ted Talk: Why Art Thrives at Burning Man

Mashable: Burning Man Isn’t What You Think, and Never Has Been

Burning Man Journal: “No Spectators” Is Our Chance to be Ambassadors of What Burning Man Really is

Wired: Ten Years at Burning Man, In Photographs