2010 was a very good year for art and the Art Department. Over 240 art projects preregistered by July 1st, and over 50 registered on playa. With a little more than a score of projects that did not show up, Burning Man had one of its richest art years yet.
The ARTery (Burning Man’s art department headquarters on playa) continues to enjoy its convenient location on the Esplanade next to District Everywhere. The proximity with District Everywhere seems to help stimulate interest in developing and promoting art, both on playa and off.
Making the best use of the view from our Esplanade placement, we made sure to place some excellent art nearby. One of the most spectacular pieces we had “in our front yard” was Spire of Fire. Created by two artists from Reno who also happen to be part of our Fire Art Safety Team (FAST), Spire of Fire created a gorgeous silhouette whether burning or not. Visitors to the ARTery also got to enjoy the sights of Syzygryd, a multimedia installation that married fire, light and sound with user participation.
After 2009’s hiccup with the GPS units we use to place art on the playa, the Art team made sure to invest both time and money in creating and purchasing new tools for the job. This made the placement and movement of art installations easier than ever before.
Art tours continue to be a huge hit! The hard-working Art tour team executed daily tours Tuesday through Friday of the event, allowing thousands of participants to visit and enjoy art across the playa. Also, the Art tour team developed audio files and a 120+ page PDF covering in-depth several of the art installations. Participants had the ability to educate themselves on the meaning behind much of BRC’s art prior to coming to the playa – adding a greater feeling of appreciation and enjoyment of the artists’ vision and hard work.
In addition, the Art tour team made a big push to do special tours for those who find it challenging or impossible to participate in the daily tours. For example, the Art tours team connected with Kidsville and executed a kids-oriented art tour. It was incredibly popular for kids and parents alike. In addition, the Art tour team welcomed key members of BMIR to their ranks. For the first time BMIR was able to do a live audio stream of Thursday’s “Meet the Artists” tour. We will continue to develop this relationship, and are very thankful for BMIR’s hard work in making it come together.
Eyes on Art blossomed in 2010! With new energy and focus behind this art safety effort, the Eyes on Art team aided dozens of artists with potential safety issues around their lighting. Coordinating closely with the Rangers, Eyes on Art scoured the playa nightly, looking for potential hazards created by art installations. The Art department is planning on investing more tools and effort in the important task of educating and arming the artists with what they need to make their art enjoyable and safe.