No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

April 26/June 7–September 2, 2019


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Fresh from the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, stunning immersive room-sized installations, mutant art vehicles, creative costuming, films, jewelry and more will transport Cincinnati Art Museum audiences to the Burning Man gathering.

Burning Man attracts more than 70,000 active participants from all over the globe who gather in the desert outside Reno, Nevada. This thriving temporary metropolis is a hotbed of artistic expression and innovation through its shared principles. Both a cultural movement and an annual event, Burning Man is one of the most influential happenings in contemporary American art and culture.

Artists include: Candy Chang, Marco Cochrane, Duane Flatmo, Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti, Five Ton Crane Arts Collective, Scott Froschauer, Android Jones and Richard Wilks, the FoldHaus Art Collective, Aaron Taylor Kuffner, HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu), Christopher Schardt, Roy Two Thousand, the Flaming Lotus Girls, and many others.

Ephemera, archival materials and photographs will be on view in the companion exhibition City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, organized by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno; it will trace Burning Man’s origins from its countercultural roots to the world-famous desert convergence it is today.

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.

FAQ Get Involved: Open Call and Temple Build

Featured Installations

Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane

Created to encourage female empowerment and self-acceptance, Truth is Beauty is a scaled-down version of one of three works displayed on the playa that make up his Bliss Project. Cochrane intends the project to bring attention to the issue of violence against women, demystifying the female body and portraying the “feminine energy and power that results when women feel free and safe.”

Nova by Christopher Schardt

Nova, a scaled down version of the artist’s breakout work Firmament (2015), is a 10-foot LED sculpture suspended from the ceiling. Best experienced from the floor, the work offers an array of ever-changing celestial, even psychedelic images while classical music permeates the environment and soothes the soul. Schardt is well regarded for creating mesmerizing immersive 'art places’ as opposed to art pieces, both on and off the playa.

Capitol Theater by Five Ton Crane

Capitol Theater is an exquisite, hand-made 1920s/’30s art deco movie theater on wheels. This collaboratively constructed driving movie palace is made by Five Ton Crane (5TC), a diverse group of more than 80 artists, builders, makers and inventors from the San Francisco Bay Area whose combined talents allow them to achieve what they couldn’t produce individually. More info on the featured films


Support for the Cincinnati presentation of this exhibition is provided by the August A. Rendigs, Jr. Foundation.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man is organized by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 

The museums especially thank colleagues from the Burning Man Project, a nonprofit public benefit corporation, for their close collaboration and assistance throughout the preparation of this exhibition and tour.

Lead support for the exhibition was provided by Intel and Bently Foundation. Support for the exhibition’s tour is provided by the C. F. Foundation, Atlanta, Georgia and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund.