Art faced a challenging year in 2004. Early in the event, 3 days of dust and wind forced some artists to keep their art in their camps, and many people experienced various problems getting to the event. Overall, the playa was home to less art in 2004 than in earlier years: 172 projects, as compared with 225 in 2003. Artists pre-registered 71 theme art projects and 95 other playa art projects. In addition, 46 “walk-ins” registered installations on site, and 40 pre-registered projects didn’t arrive on the playa.

A perception seemed to emerge of a large reduction in playa art for 2004, although the numbers show about 50 fewer projects than the previous year. Several factors contributed to this perception. Fewer large-scale projects appeared this year, and the city’s layout left more space to fill between David Best’s Temple of Stars, which we moved much further out, and the Man. Moving the Temple so far out left a big empty stretch that was difficult to fill adequately with participants’ art. Also, several of the theme art projects originally mapped on the walkway to the Man were moved out to the deep playa at the artists’ request, so the walkway seemed a bit empty. Playa art did include many wonderful installations, including several surprises from artists we had never worked with before, including the Alien Semaphore by Hedley Davis, Cubatron by Mark Lottor, and the LightHouse by Peggy Miller. To see descriptions and images of the playa art, go to our 2004 listings.

Perhaps Black Rock City has spoiled us so we expect more, bigger, better art each year – but we can logically expect to encounter a light art year now and then. We greatly enjoyed the nearly 200 installations that artists created, and we thank everyone for bringing their art to the playa.

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