Art Exhibitions

The 3-D Pyramid Viewer by James Comstock, SF Art Commission Gallery (photo by Marla Aufmuth)
The 3-D Pyramid Viewer by James Comstock, SF Art Commission Gallery (photo by Marla Aufmuth)

Can the art of Burning Man be taken out of its playa context and successfully presented in a museum setting? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Using photographs and videos for context, large scale sculpture, material culture,  mutant vehicles, jewelry, and costumes have been shown to the public beyond Burning Man, spreading our ethos even further out into the world.

Burning Man has presented three art exhibitions since 1998: two featuring art installations, photographs, and video, and one focusing on neon. From a curatorial point of view, showing Burning Man art can be difficult, as many of the installations created on the playa have been burned and are available to us only in photographs, and the scale of much of the work is prohibitive.  However, we’ve managed to  show actual art from the playa as well as other work our artists have created.

Our first exhibit was The Art of Burning Man at the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, July 29 to August 29 1998. The second was an updated version of The Art of Burning Man at Theater Bruka in Reno, July 9 to 31, 1999. Our third exhibit, at the Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles, took place from December 11, 1999 through March 12, 2000 and was curated by LadyBee.

In addition, six  independent arts organizations have staged exhibitions of Burning Man art. In the summer of 2001, the Sonoma Museum of Visual Art showed six large-scale outdoor sculptures, and in 2007, the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno showed A Tribe of Artists: Costumes and Culture of Burning Man, Geoffrey Nelson’s photographs and costumed mannequins.

In 2017, three museum shows took place:

Playa Made: Jewelry of Burning Man, guest curated by LadyBee and based on the book of the same name, debuted at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts; this exhibit was shown from February 11 through June 4, 2017. WBUR, Boston’s NPR affiliate, nicely reviewed the exhibit.

Virginia’s Hermitage Museum showed Burning Man art from June 3 through October 14.The concept for the show originated with the Hermitage’s Executive Director Jen Duncan in 2015. “I think that Burning Man is an incredibly powerful way for people with shared passions to connect whether it’s through art, music, religion, or other ideas,” Duncan said. “The festival removes any barrier from the experience, makes it more interactive, with fewer rules constraining the visitor and the artist. The art created at Burning Man is only available for a limited time each year, and I believe that it can stand on its own and should be displayed in the museum setting as well.”  Read more about it in the Burning Man Journal and in the Virginian Pilot.

The Nevada Museum of Art showed its archival exhibit, City of Dust, The Evolution of Burning Man from  July 1, 2017 through January 7, 2018. The show grew out of Danger Ranger’s gift of his extensive personal archives to the NMA’s Center for Art and Environment, where curators William Fox and Anne Wolfe developed the exhibit, working with Burning Man.  They created a  documentary, and several Burning Man staff members delivered presentations on the art and culture of Burning Man. We were also featured in the Center’s annual conference, Art and Environment, October 19-21, 2017. The exhibit was reviewed in Moonshine Ink.

In 2018, part of the NMA exhibit travelled to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. as part of the Renwick Gallery’s major exhibit, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man. Opening on March 30, 2018, this important exhibit explores the art, mutant vehicles, jewelry, costumes and photography of Burning Man, as well as our history and ethos; the Renwick’s curator Nora Atkinson worked closely with Burning Man to develop the exhibit. In addition, six sculptures from the playa will be shown throughout the surrounding neighborhood in an outdoor extension of the exhibit, No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick. Programming includes a gala opening, a “Meet the Artists” event in the galleries, and presentations by several staff members.

 

 

 

Polls Archive

Each year Black Rock City is raised from the surface of the desert as a result of the cooperation and participation of many. It is only by combining our collective efforts that we can create the experience that is Burning Man. As such, we invite and encourage the input and opinions of our participants about a wide variety of issues related to Burning Man.

From 2003-2008, we gathered participant input through polls. Now that there are so many other mechanisms for expressing opinions, we discontinued polling. We may start again in the future, who knows. Here are the polls we ran:

 

2008 ARCHIVED POLLS

October 9, 2008 to November 9, 2008

What did you think of the size of Black Rock City in 2008?
It was way too big this year, please make it smaller  55.7%
It was big, but the size was appropriate to the population  37.1%
I didn’t notice … what are you talking about?  5.7%
It still felt like a tight squeeze overall  1.5%


Total votes: 2228

 

 

 

June 12, 2008 to August 12, 2008

What do you think of the new Burning Blog?
Wow. It’s a great way to stay informed!  42.3%
It’s pretty cool, but whatever.  32.6%
Pfft. I don’t see why Burning Man needs a blog.  25.1%


Total votes: 215

 

 

 

March 11, 2008 to May 11, 2008

Did the Green Man theme inspire you to green your day-to-day life?
Somewhat … I was already pretty environmentally active, but it gave me a bump.  55.8%
Barely … I wasn’t enviro active before, but I’m a least a little more aware now.  16.7%
Nope … I remain enviroblivious.  16.0%
Absolutely … I’ve become much more environmentally conscious.  11.4%


Total votes: 412

 

 

2007 ARCHIVED POLLS

October 8, 2007 to November 8, 2007

What did you think of Burning Man 2007?
It was the best ever!  47.0%
It was pretty good … nothing spectacular.  30.5%
It will have been better next year.  15.0%
Hate to say it … it was lame.  7.5%


Total votes: 440

 

 

December 28, 2006 to January 28, 2007

When do you start planning your theme camp?
Soon as our car leaves the playa, we’re right back on it.  31.9%
What theme camp?  23.4%
If we don’t get it rolling in the winter, we’ll never get our stuff together.  18.8%
We kick it off in the springtime.  18.0%
We are procrastinators … we don’t hit it until summer  7.9%


Total votes: 367

 

 

 

2006 ARCHIVED POLLS

September 21 to October 21, 2006

What did you think of Burning Man 2006?
What a year … it was the best ever.  62.2%
It was pretty good … nothing spectacular.  25.6%
It will have been better next year.  7.5%
Hate to say it … it was lame.  4.7%


Total votes: 731

 

 

 

July 19 to August 19, 2006

How do you light your art, rebar and bike on the playa?
I get ’em going with glowsticks  30.4%
I light ’em up with LED’s  28.8%
I electrify ’em with el-wire  26.8%
I light them on fire  8.7%
I just use jury-rigged flashlights  5.4%


Total votes: 878

 

 

 

February 26 to March 26, 2006

When do you register your theme camp, art installation or mutant vehicle?
As soon as I can!  36.2%
I don’t do any projects that require registration.  31.4%
What? Register? Huh?  18.6%
As late as I can … right before the deadline.  13.8%


Total votes: 290

 

 

2005 ARCHIVED POLLS

December 13, 2005 to January 13, 2006

How do you feel about the 2006 Art Theme “Hope and Fear: The Future”?
Hopeful  68.8%
Who the $%*# cares?  18.1%
Fearful  13.1%


Total votes: 1112

 

 

October 26 to November 26, 2005

What did you think of Burning Man 2005?
It was easily the best Burning Man ever.  58.4%
Eh … it was OK.  23.8%
I don’t know. I took a wrong turn and ended up at Bunring Man!  15.8%
Lame lame lame.  1.9%


Total votes: 462

 

 

September 22 to October 22, 2005

How do you connect with fellow Burners after the event?
I hang out with my close Burner friends.  46.4%
I sniff the playa on my tent.  18.8%
I head to the nearest Decompression event.  18.5%
I jump on the ePlaya and connect with them virtually.  11.0%
I contact the Burning Man regional representative in my area, of course!  5.2%


Total votes: 362

 

 

July 14 to August 14, 2005

What do you do with the Survival Guide?
I read it cover-to-cover, and make sure all my campmates do, too.  52.2%
I just scan it for the new information.  36.0%
I never read it … I know my stuff. And I like to suffer.  5.9%
What’s a Survival Guide?  5.9%


Total votes: 802

 

 

May 6 to June 6, 2005

What do you think of the new Black Rock City Plan?
Love it!  41.4%
It’s cool … but it makes no difference to me, really.  35.2%
I don’t really care; it’s still Black Rock City.  13.9%
I’m not really happy about it, but I’ll deal.  7.5%
Hate it.  2.1%


Total votes: 532

 

 

April 5 to May 5, 2005

When do you visit theme camps?
Any time of day, it doesn’t matter.  60.2%
I hit ‘em at night … that’s when the party happens!  13.8%
I don’t really go into a theme camp unless I know somebody there.  9.6%
I camp in a theme camp, so I’m too busy to go anywhere else.  8.1%
I go during the day to meet new people and hang out.  6.3%
I never visit them … I get my playa experience elsewhere.  2.1%


Total votes: 334

 

 

February 16 to March 16, 2005

How do you read the JRS?
I set it aside for the weekend, or whenever I have some extra time.  38.4%
I devour it word-for-word as soon as it hits my inbox…and I don’t care what my boss thinks!  35.7%
I scan the headlines, and only read the stuff marked “important”.  17.2%
I like and appreciate the JRS, but never seem to have time to read it.  3.7%
Huh? What’s the JRS?  3.3%
Dude, I’ve been burning for years; I don’t need to read that stuff.  1.3%
I’m not even subscribed. Sheesh, it’s just a week in the desert!  0.3%
I unsubscribe in September and resubscribe the next July. Why bother, until it’s time to plan?  0.0%


Total votes: 778

 

 

December 29, 2004 to January 31, 2005

What day of the year do you consider the beginning of your “new year”?
Burn night is my annual reboot  33.3%
New Year’s Day … what’s not *hic* to love?  25.1%
It’s all one year to me  21.8%
I turn it over on the solstice  10.7%
My birthday is when I get to start again  9.1%


Total votes: 514

 

 

 

2004 ARCHIVED POLLS

 

December 2 to December 23, 2004

When do you buy your Burning Man ticket?
As soon as they go on sale, I’m all over it.  76.8%
I pick mine up sometime during the summer.  13.6%
I’m a procrastinator. Right before the event.  4.3%
Ticket? Who needs a ticket? (e.g. I’ll be thrown out attempting to sneak through the trash fence.)  4.1%
You think you know procrastinating? I buy mine at the gate.  1.2%


Total votes: 345

 

 

August 2 to August 23, 2004

How will you camp on the playa?
I’ll be squatting in my trusty dusty pup tent.  49.6%
If the RV’s rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’.  26.7%
I’ll sleep when I’m dead.  9.8%
I’ll sleep where I fall down.  9.6%
I’ll start with a big plan for a fiberglass yurt, but end up crashing in somebody’s chill dome.  4.3%


Total votes: 645

 

 

July 12 to July 26, 2004

How long do you plan to stay on the playa this year?
I wouldn’t miss the Temple Burn on Sunday night.  51.4%
I’m NEVER LEAVING!!! You’re gonna have to DRAG ME OUTTA HERE!!  29.0%
Soon as I see Sunday, I’m bolting!  15.7%
I’m going to get outta Dodge before the Man burns.  2.4%
Right after the Man burns, you’ll see my after-burners.  1.5%


Total votes: 535

 

 

May 20 to June 10, 2004

How do you plan to participate this year?
I’ll be making my own unique contribution to the community.  37.0%
I’m going to volunteer for one of the myriad Burning Man teams.  24.7%
My theme camp will enthrall and titillate the masses.  16.9%
I’m going to show up wearing a beer hat and hoot at naked people.  12.5%
I’m creating an art work for the playa.  8.9%


Total votes: 551

 

 

April 6 to April 27, 2004

How do you plan on getting around the playa this year?
I will pedal the playa on my trusty tricked-out playa bike, of course!  69.7%
I’m going the old fashioned way … foot power!  12.8%
I will dazzle my fellow participants with my fabulously decorated mutant vehicle!  8.1%
I shall rely on the kindness of strangers!  4.9%
I like to get around on a gussied-up (but muffled) scooter.  4.5%


Total votes: 595

 

 

Feb 26 to March 11, 2004

What do you think about the number of Mutant Vehicles at Burning Man?
The amount of Mutant Vehicles is right on, just fine, A-OK.  32.2%
There should be fewer Mutant Vehicles than there have been in the last few years; it’s too much.  28.7%
The more the merrier!  28.5%
I don’t care; this has no effect on me or my playa experiences.  6.5%
No Mutant Vehicles! BRC is a pedestrian city.  4.1%


Total votes: 1588

 

 

Jan 27 to Feb 26, 2004

Are you aware that there is a Burning Man Regional Network?
Yes, I’m very involved with our local group  34.0%
I’ve meant to write them but I haven’t had time  25.5%
Huh? Never heard of it!  25.1%
Yes, but there’s not a group near me yet : (  10.3%
I don’t care to connect with other Burners year round  5.1%


Total votes: 689

 

 

 

2003 ARCHIVED POLLS

 

Dec 18, 2003 to Jan 4, 2004

As for holiday gift giving, I’m in favor of…
Both store bought and hand/artist made gifts  42.2%
Bah Humbug. I like to give gifts, but not when told to!  19.9%
Giving hand/artist made gifts  11.4%
Giving bought gifts sparingly  11.1%
The ‘Buy Nothing’ concept  6.6%
Going all out with bought gift giving  5.0%
‘White Elephant’ gift exchanges  3.7%


Total votes: 377

 


Nov 24 to Dec 8, 2003

If the dates of Burning Man were to change in the future, which would you prefer?
No, keep it on Labor Day!  40.5%
One to two weeks earlier, to avoid holidays and school conflicts.  35.1%
Moved to early to mid-August, since August is otherwise empty.  24.3%


Total votes: 2428

 


Oct 31 to Nov 21, 2003

Trance music on the playa: what’s your take?
I go to those camps once in a while  37.9%
BEATS BEATS BEATS! I dance 24-7!  34.2%
Ugh! Makes me wish I had no ears  14.6%
Don’t like it, but don’t hate it either  12.0%
No opinion  1.4%


Total votes: 1101

 


Oct 12 to 27, 2003

Decompression happens in the bay area and regionally. Why do you go?
The influence of Burning Man has changed my life  47.4%
I’ve never attended any Decompression events  28.4%
I love the art and costumes  11.2%
Hoping to run into friends I’ve met  11.2%
I’m a party hound  1.7%


Total votes: 232

 


Sept 26 to Oct 13, 2003

Love on the playa. Romance! or romance? Did you come to the playa…
Single, and are still single  36.3%
With my significant other, and we’re still together  25.4%
Single, but started something new and special  16.6%
With someone important, and we survived the ups and downs of the playa  9.8%
With my significant other, we “polyamorized” together  9.1%
With my significant other, and the relationship busted up  2.8%


Total votes: 968

 


Sept 10 to 25, 2003

How was your Burning Man 2003 experience?
Great  37.1%
Best ever  25.1%
Not the best ever, but close  18.2%
Might take next year off  11.7%
I’m burned out  3.7%
Never coming again  1.5%
Left early  1.5%
Horrible  1.2%


Total votes: 1098

 


Sept 3 to 10, 2003

Which Burning Man art theme have you enjoyed most?
2002 – The Floating World  42.6%
2003 – Beyond Belief  29.8%
2000 – The Body  11.6%
2001 – The Seven Ages  8.0%
1999 – The Wheel of Time  5.2%
1998 – The Nebulous Entity  2.8%


Total votes: 423

 


Aug 11 to 25, 2003

How many years have you attended Burning Man?
I know the ropes (2-3 yrs)  43.0%
I’ve pounded a lot of rebar (4-5 yrs)  25.7%
I’m an old timer (6-8 yrs)  14.9%
This is my first year!  13.5%
I am one with the playa (9+ yrs)  2.8%


Total votes: 1071

 


July 30 to Aug 13, 2003

When will you arrive on the playa?
Pre-event. We’ve got special contstruction to do.  33.8%
Monday – Tuesday  27.2%
12:01 am, Monday morning!  18.8%
Wed – Thursday  16.6%
Friday – damn my job!  3.0%
Saturday – I’m only into the burn.  0.5%


Total votes: 728

 



July 10 to July 31, 2003

When do you begin planning for Burning Man?
Been thinking about it since I drove off the playa in 2002!  50.5%
January, when tickets were announced.  16.9%
We started our planning in July.  13.7%
I’ll get it together in August.  10.2%
May, when camp and art registration began.  8.7%


Total votes: 679

 

 

June 24 to July 15, 2003

What do you think of Burningman.com’s new look?
Wow! Love the flames.  38.7%
It helps get me excited for this year.  30.7%
I’d liked it better before.  15.7%
It’s a website alright (yawn).  9.3%
Looks like a Harley Davidson homage.  5.7%


Total votes: 760

 

 

 

Fiscal Sponsorship

What is fiscal sponsorship?

Fiscal sponsorship is an activity by which a public charity facilitates tax-deductible donations to a project by providing some oversight of projects that serve a public benefit but do not have their own non-profit status. Fiscal sponsorship allows projects to receive tax deductible contributions that an independent project might not otherwise be able to receive.

What is Burning Man’s History with fiscal sponsorship?

Burning Man Project inherited the program from the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) in 2015. In 2014, BRAF started offering fiscal sponsorship to projects that had received an Honoraria grant from Black Rock City, LLC to bring art to the Burning Man event. When Burning Man Project merged with BRAF, Burning Man Project continued to support the program. Since 2015, Burning Man Project invested in capacity building around this program. From 2015 – 2018 Burning Man sponsored 71 projects, which raised a combined total of $872k using the program over the four year period. At the end of 2018, after reviewing the national landscape of fiscal sponsors and its own ability to provide an impactful and sustainable service to the community, Burning Man decided to roll back the program in favor of refocusing its capacity in other program areas. We will only offer fiscal sponsorship in a few select cases.

May I apply for Fiscal Sponsorship with Burning Man?

Burning Man Project no longer offers this as a standard program, if you think you may qualify for an exception please email fiscalsponsorship@burningman.org.

Does Burning Man still sponsor project or organizations?

On rare occasions, Burning Man may continue to offer or engage in a new fiscal sponsorship agreement with a mission aligned project or organization.

If you have any outstanding fiscal sponsorship needs, please refer to the two resources linked below and/or send an email to fiscalsponsorship@burningman.org.

More information:

National Network of Fiscal Sponsors

Fiscal Sponsorship Directory

Evolution of Black Rock City

You can learn about the urban planning and design that went into the evolution of Black Rock City, home to the people of Burning Man, in Metropol, the blog series created as part of the Burning Man 2010 art theme “Metropolis: The Life of Cities”.

You can also read the Building Black Rock City series, which chronicles each year’s process of building the infrastructure for our ephemeral desert metropolis.

Burning Academics

School Girls, 2003 (Photo by Dan Adams)

School Girls, 2003 (Photo by Dan Adams)

Academics have long been drawn to Burning Man, creating a rich and growing body of research and scholarly analysis regarding the event and the culture. Since 2010, the Burning Nerds group has served as a networking hub for researchers and thinkers in sociology, anthropology, architecture, art, economics, spirituality and many other disciplines.

Burning Man encourages academic projects by providing access to the Burning Man archives, photo and video passes on the playa, staff and participant interviews, and other forms of support for research and educational efforts. To request information for your own research, or to contact us about other academic opportunities, email us at academics@burningman.org.

The Black Rock City Census is often cited in published works, too. Peruse the Census citations here.

In addition to the titles in our book list, some of which touch on academic themes, and the “Burning the Man, Academically” media collected by Lauren Christos for the Digital Academic Database, there is a wealth of academic writing about Burning Man.

Bowditch, Rachel (Performance & Ritual)
(2010) On the edge of Utopia: Performance and ritual at Burning Man. Chicago, Il: University of Chicago Press.
(2010)” The somatic city: Rehearsing utopia at the Burning Man festival.” XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics. Urban Feel. #23
(2007) “Temple of tears: Revitalizing and inventing ritual in the Burning Man community in the Black Rock desert of Nevada.” The Journal of Religion &Theatre, Vol. 6, No. 2, 140-154.
(2007) “Dancing with fire: The ultimate effigy.” Puppetry International Magazine Issue 22.

Chen, Katherine K. (Organization & Sociology)
(2012) “Charismatizing the Routine: Storytelling for Meaning and Agency in the Burning Man Organization.” Qualitative Sociology 35(3): 311–334.
(2012). “Laboring for the Man: Augmenting Authority in a Voluntary Association.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations 34:135-164.
(2011) “Artistic Prosumption: Cocreative Destruction at Burning Man.” American Behavioral Scientist 56(4): 570-595.
(2011) “Lessons for Creative Cities from Burning Man: How organizations can sustain and disseminate a creative context.” City, Culture and Society 2(2): 93-100.
(2009) Enabling creative chaos: The organization behind the Burning Man event. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
(2009) “Authenticity at Burning Man.” Contexts 8(3): 65-67.
(2005) “Incendiary incentives: How the Burning Man organization motivates and manages volunteers.” In L. Gilmore & M. Van Proyen (Eds.), Afterburn: Reflections on Burning Man (109-128). Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.
(2003) “Coordinating contributing members: How the Burning Man organization forms an ‘alternative’ artistic community in the Nevada Black Rock Desert.” Pp. 56-61 in People Shaping Places Shaping People Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Proceedings 34. Eds. Julia W. Robinson, Kathleen A. Harder, Herbert L. Pick, and Virajita Singh
(2003) “Burning Man lights a fire: The Nevada desert event doesn’t just produce art, it produces citizens.” In the Fray.
(2003) “Growth at Burning Man: An anthropological view.” Blacktop Gazette: Decompression Issue 2(3).
(2002) “The alternative in the desert: On the Burning Man organization.” Alumni Quarterly Colloquy: 16. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Harvard University.

Clupper, Wendy (Performance Art & Erotic Politics)
(2011) “Darwin loves you: The evolution of performance art thanks to Burning Man.” Festivals and Faires in the United States. New York: Mellon Press.
(2009) “The erotic politics of Critical Tits: Exhibitionism or feminist statement?” Political Performances: Theory and Practice. New York/ Amsterdam: Rodopi Press.
(2007) “Burning Man: Festival culture in the United States, Festival Culture in a Global Perspective.” Festivalising! Theatrical Events, Politics and Culture. New York/Amsterdam: Rodopi Press.

(2007) “The Performance Culture of Burning Man.” Dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park. School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies.  http://drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/1903/7405/1/umi-umd-4825.pdf

Doherty, Brian (Underground Culture)
(2004) This is Burning Man: The rise of a new American underground. New York NY: Little, Brown & Co.

Gauthier, Francois
(2015) “(Re)créer le monde à Burning Man. Jeu, don et créativité rituelle”, Revue du MAUSS semestrielle 46 : 220-250.
(2015) “Burning Man’s Gift-Driven, Event-Centred Diaspora ,” Revue du MAUSS permanente, 24 janvier 2015 [en ligne].
(2014) “Intimate circles and mass meetings. The social forms of event-structured religion in the era of globalized markets and hyper-mediatization” in Social Compass 61(2): 261-271.
(2013)  “The Enchantments of Consumer Capitalism. Beyond Belief at the Burning Man Festival,” dans F. Gauthier et T. Martikainen (dir.), Religion in Consumer Society. Brands, Consumers and Markets, Farnham : Ashgate, pp.143-158.
(2011) “Les HeeBeeGeeBee Healers au Festival Burning Man. Trois récits de guérison, Ethnologies, Vol.33, No.1 : 191-215.
(2010) “Du bon usage des drogues en religion. Consommations néo-chamaniques à Burning Man,” Drogues, santé et société, Vol.8, No 1 : 202-237.
(2010)  “De l’errance à l’extase : les quêtes du Festival Burning Man,” dans Nicolas Ducournau, Jocelyn Lachance, Louis Mathiot et Meryem Sellami (dir.), La recherche d’extase chez les jeunes. Troubles alimentaires, Scarifications, Psychotropes, Errances, Ste-Foy (Québec), Presses de l’Université Laval, pp. 63-71.
(2004) “Le Temple de l’Honneur. Rituels et deuils au Festival Burning Man,” dans Frontières, Vol. 17, No 1 : 87-90.

Gilmore, Lee (Spirituality & Ritual)
(2010) Theatre in a crowded fire: Ritual and spirituality at Burning Man, University of California Press. Gilmore, L., & Van Proyen, M. (Eds.).
(2005) Afterburn: Reflections on Burning Man. Albequerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.
(2003) “Fires of the heart: Ritual, pilgrimage and transformation at Burning Man.” In L. Gilmore & M. Van Proyen (Eds.), Afterburn: Reflections on Burning Man (43-62). Albequerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Heller, S. Megan (Ritual)
(2016) “Memories of Burning Man.” In Clare L. Boulanger (Ed.), Reflecting on America: Anthropological Views of U.S. Culture, 2nd edition. Taylor & Francis / Routledge. p.181-192.

Hockett, Jeremy (Ethnography & Self)
(2005) “Participant observation and the study of self: Burning Man as ethnographic experience.” In L. Gilmore & M. Van Proyen (Eds.), Afterburn: Reflections on Burning Man. Albequerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Hoover, Duane J. (Organization & Management)
(2008) “Realizing the artful in management education and development: Smoldering examples from the Burning Man Project.” Journal of Management and Organization. November.

Institute of Noetic Sciences (Collective Consciousness)
(2017) “A Disturbance in the Force: Exploring Collective Consciousness at Burning Man Ions Report. March.

Ji, Yuan (Business Law)
(2013) “Burning Man: A case study of altruism thriving in a for-profit organiational form and the rationales for LLC -to-nonprofit conversion.” In Hastings Business Law Journal. Vol 9-3.  p.449-484. UCLA.

Kehoe, Kara Leeann (Communications)
(2011) Thesis: “Burning Man Was Better Next Year.a phenomenology of community identity in the Black Rock counterculture.” California State University, Sacramento. Communication Studies Department.

Kozinets, Robert V & Sherry Jr., John F. (Marketing, Social Media & Consumer Culture)
Kozinets, Robert V & Sherry Jr., John F.
(2007) “Agents in paradise: Experiential co-creation through emplacement, ritualization, and community,” in Consuming Experiences, ed. Antonella Carù and Bernard Cova, London and New York: Routledge, 17-33.
(2007) “Comedy of the commons: Nomadic spirituality at Burning Man.” In R. Belk & J.F. Sherry Jr. (Eds.), Consumer Culture Theory, Vol. 11 of Research in Consumer Behavior (119-147). Oxford: Elsevier.
(2005) “Welcome to the Black Rock Café.” In L. Gilmore & M. Van Proyen (Eds.), Afterburn: Reflections on Burning Man (87-106). Albequerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.
(2004) “Dancing on common ground: Exploring the sacred at Burning Man.” In G. St. John (Eds.), Rave Culture and Religion (287-303). New York and London: Routledge.
(2003) “Sacred iconography in secular space: Altars, alters, and alterity at the Burning Man project.” in Contemporary Consumption Rituals: A Research Anthology, eds. Cele Otnes and Tina Lowrey, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 291-311.
(2003) “The moment of infinite fire.” In S. Brown & J.F. Sherry Jr. (Eds.), Time, Space, and the Market: Retroscapes Rising (199-216). New York: M. E. Sharpe.
(2002) “Can consumers escape the market? Emancipatory illuminations from Burning Man.” Journal of Consumer Research, 29 (June), 20-38.
(2002) “Desert pilgrim.” Consumption, Markets and Culture. 5 (September), 171-186.

Kristen, Christen aka Lady Bee (Art)
(2007) “Fire Art of Burning Man. Playing with Fire.” Leonardo online Vol 40, no. 4
(2006) “Reconnecting Art and Life at Burning Man.” Raw Vision. Issue 57:Winter.
(2003) “The Outsider Art of Burning Man” Leonardo on-line vol. 36, no. 5.

Krukowski, Samantha, ed. (History of Burning Man)
(2014) “Playa Dust – Collected Stories from Burning Man.” Black Dog Publishing, UK. ISBN 978-1-908966-64-3.

Larsen, Dawn (Theatre Studies)
(2012) Burning Man: Professor Coaxes Theatre Students ‘Out of Their Boxes’ with Annual Field Trip to Counterculture Festival. Southern Theatre 53.2 (Spring 2012): 22-25, 29.

McCrae, Kateri S., Heller, Megan, John, Oliver P., & Gross, James J. (Emotional Regulation)
(2011) “Context-Dependent Emotion Regulation: Suppression and Reappraisal at the Burning Man Festival.” Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 33:4, 346-350 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01973533.2011.614170

Moore, Stephan and Smallwood, Scott
(2011) “The Soundscape of Burning Man.” Soundscape Journal. Vol. 11, Number 1, Fall/Winter, pp. 47-51.
(2013) “Sound Art at Burning Man: Sonic Interventions in an Extreme Environment.” In Proceedings of the Symposium Musique et écologies du son / Music and ecologies of sound, Universite Paris 8, Paris, May 27-30, 2013. This paper describes the type of sound art work that is exhibited at the Burning Man Festival, focusing on the environmental and social factors that go into planning, conceptualizing, and building these artworks.

Moore, Stephan, Ogawa, David and Smallwood, Scott
(2011) “Metafiscal Services in the Middle of Nowhere.” Presented at the Radical Aesthetics and Politics: Intersections in Music, Art, and Critical Social Theory, Hunter College, CUNY, December. This paper describes at art project entitled the KTM (Karmic Teller Machine), a conceptual sound art piece that has been exhibited at the Burning Man event since 2007.

Morehead, John W. (Religion and Culture)
(2013) “Burning Man and Rituals of Inversion”. Encyclopedia of Humor Studies. Sage Publications.
(2011) “Burning Man Festival: A Life-Enhancing, Post-Christendom, ‘Middle Way’“. Saarbrücken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.
(2010) “From a Marginalized Community to a New Spiritual Order: Lessons at Burning Man Festival, in Perspectives on Post-Christendom Spiritualities” (119-144). Sydney: Morling College Press.
(2009) “Burning Man Festival in Alternative Interpretive Analysis“, Sacred Tribes Journal 4, no. 1: 19-41.
(2009) “Burning Man Festival“, Sacred Tribes Journal Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements.
(2009) “Alternative Cultural Events“, Sacred Tribes Journal Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements.

Pike, Sarah (Comparative Religion)
(2010) “Performing Grief in Formal and Informal Rituals at the Burning Man Festival,” in: Weinhold, J. & Samuel G. (eds.) “The Varieties of Ritual Experience,” in Ritual Dynamics and the Science of Ritual. Volume II – Body, Performance, Agency and Experience, ed. by Axel Michaels et al. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz
(2005) “No Novenas for the Dead: Ritual Action and Communal Memory at the Temple of Tears,” in Afterburn: Reflections on Burning Man, edited by Lee Gilmore and Mark Van Proyen.  University of New Mexico Press
(2001) “Desert Goddesses and Apocalyptic Art: Making Sacred Space at the Burning Man Festival” in God in the Details: American Religion in Popular Culture, edited by Katherine McCarthy and Eric Mazur.  New York: Routledge, Inc.

Quaak, Larissa (Cultural Anthropology)
(2017) Re-presenting the present. The (r) evolution of the Burning Man Festival, Master Thesis, Cultural Anthropology.

Radziwill, N. M. & Benton, M. C. (Integrated Science and Technology)
(2013) “Burning Man – Quality and Innovation in the Spirit of Deming.” Journal for Quality and Participation, April, p. 7-11

Reisfeld Shafer, Stephanie
(2017) “The Impact of Immersion: A Case Study of Burning Man and its Implications for Audience Engagement,” American Journal of Arts Management, May 2017 issue

Rosenbloom, Rebecca E.
(2017) “Aural Substance: An Ethnographic Exploration of Regional Burn Soundscapes,” MA Thesis, Temple University, 2017

St. John, Graham
(2017) Charms War: Dance Camps and Sound Cars at Burning Man. In Graham St John, ed., Weekend Societies: Electronic Dance Music Festivals and Event-Cultures, 219–244. New York: Bloomsbury.
(2017) Blazing Grace: The Gifted Culture of Burning Man. NANO: New American Notes Online, 11 (July), Special issue “Economies of the Gift in an Age of Austerity” edited by Jennie Stearns and J.P. Craig.
(2017) Civilised Tribalism: Burning Man, Event-Tribes and Maker Culture. Cultural Sociology. Online First. Nov 1 2017.
(2014) Begoggled in the Theater of Awe: Electronic Dance Music Culture at Burning Man. In Samantha Krukowski, ed., Playa Dust: Collected Stories from Burning Man, 144–159. London: Black Dog Publishing.
(2009) “12 noon, Black Rock City.” Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture. 1(1).
(2007/11/09 – 3:22pm). “Begoggled in the mega-vibe @ Burningman.” Undergrowth.

Turner, Fred (New Media Production)
(2009) “Burning Man at Google: a cultural infrastructure for new media production.” New Media & Society 11, no. 1-2: 73-94.

 

Downtown Project

Revitalizing Las Vegas

Starting in 2012, Burning Man provided creative consulting to Downtown Project, partnering to bring vibrant, interactive art and culture to downtown Las Vegas in an urban revitalization program focused as much on arts and education as on entrepreneurship and small business growth.

Downtown Project, Las Vegas
Downtown Project, Las Vegas

Burning Man staff led a daylong design charrette to help Downtown Project strategize its participation in Las Vegas’s First Friday public art event, leading to more opportunities for interaction and connectedness among participants and strengthening the event’s civic-minded emphasis.

Burning Man also arranged for the YES (Youth Education Spacehip) project to land in Las Vegas, with placement in Downtown Project’s Learning Village and a commitment to educational programming.

Youth Education Spaceship (YES)

Burning Man worked closely with artist Dana Albany to bring the Y.E.S. project to life: a mobile spaceship classroom built from repurposed and found objects, designed and built together with kids from San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Hunters Point neighborhoods. This collaborative art program, which Burning Man co-sponsored along with the Exploratorium, Maker Faire, The Crucible and private donors, gives young people the time and space to create, participate, and then exhibit their work, while engaging children in hands-on experience focusing on art and technology.

Youth Education Spaceship at Maker Faire San Mateo
Youth Education Spaceship at Maker Faire San Mateo

During the course of three months, the children made model spaceships and created mosaic stars and imaginary planets out of recycled glass, mirror, tiles, and repurposed objects. Their work adorns the exterior of the spacecraft. At the Crucible, the kids learned how to make fused glass tiles and the art of glass sand-casting, which has been installed in the interior. During the formation of the spacecraft they were engaged in discussions about recycling, creative reuse, environmentalism, solar energy, LED lighting, photography, soundscape creation, robotics, space travel and astronomy.The result of this effort is an engaging, highly interactive mobile classroom for the teaching and learning of art and science.

More info.

Playa Artifacts Archive

Welcome to the fascinating world of material culture. The artifacts and gifts that people give one another at Burning Man reveal a great deal about themselves and give us information on ways of life, spiritual values and customs, which are not recorded elsewhere.

Gift-giving on the playa joins creative expression with delighted acceptance. These objects are often given spontaneously for the pleasure of giving and receiving. We delight in the charm of a 2-inch man made from one piece of copper wire and puzzle over the meaning of a playing card chosen and handed to you by a citizen in passing.

Necklace by John Worley

Sometimes they are given for utilitarian reasons: to thank somebody for a drink of water or a pretty little bag to help collect MOOP (Matter Out of Place). Burning Man seems to inspire the urge to create and give, and anyone inclined to make a gift generally experiences an appreciative reception.

Burning Man’s repository of playa gifts has grown to include such ephemera as stickers, decals, stamped coins, temporary tattoos, buttons, trading cards, cigarette lighters, embroidered patches, postcards, notepads, photocopied booklets and matchbooks.

It also contains arts and crafts, including silk-screened prints, T-shirts, stamps, etchings, silver charms, blown-glass pendants, medallions and small boxes of ashes collected from the Man burn.

Not all of the objects Burning man collects are mass-made playa gifts. Some are one-of-a-kind artworks. Some are artifacts from events, theme camps and art installations. Others are mementos given to volunteers in the various departments.

To add to our archives, please download and fill out our Playa Artifacts PDF form. Make sure you include the year the object was made.

On the playa, bring the form and the Playa Artifacts to the ARTery in Center Camp where we provide you with a sealed bag to store your contribution. We also have forms for you to fill out if you didn’t bring one with you.

Off the playa, mail this form and your Playa Artifacts to:

Material Culture
c/o Burning Man
P.O. Box 884688
SF, CA
94188-4688

You can also submit a JPG image of your playa artifacts to our online Material Culture Archives. You can search the Gallery by types of artifacts: pendants, patches, stickers, etc. Please send the artifacts and form to us for our office archives as well. These objects are displayed at the Burning Man office and will be used for future exhibitions.

Please send any questions or comments about the artifacts to material-culture@burningman.org. Thank you!

MOOP Map Archive

Burning Man is the largest Leave No Trace event in the world, and Black Rock City continues to be recognized by the Bureau of Land Management for not only maintaining Leave No Trace standards, but for setting high standards by which other recreation events are measured. And that wouldn’t be possible without the concerted efforts of Burning Man participants who pick up after themselves (and others).

The MOOP Map is Burning Man’s Leave No Trace record for each year. It reflects what the Department of Public Works’ Playa Restoration Team found (and removed) when they conducted their post-event sweep of the Black Rock City event site, ultimately returning the playa to its pristine condition.

2020 | 20192018 | 2017 | 2016

2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

AfterBurn Reports

The AfterBurn Report is an annual year-end report which provides Burning Man participants with an up-to-date overview of the Burning Man organization, our objectives and the obstacles we encounter. Our hope is that this report will help provide a context for understanding the organization and people behind the event. “Burning Man” is the name we use to define the scope, scale and dynamic nature of what we all do together.

The Burning Man organization includes a full-time staff, a larger group of part-time seasonal staff, and thousands of volunteers as well as participants who take responsibility for making Burning Man happen. The AfterBurn Report explains what our various departments do, why they do it, what changes occur year to year, where Burning Man’s money goes, our successes and failures, and our vision for the future.

20202019 | 20182017 | 2016

2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

Census Archive

The Census is one of the primary ways the Burning Man organization tracks changes in population, behavior, and attitudes of event participants. The more we understand the makeup of Black Rock City and the diverse kinds of Burning Man experiences, the better equipped we are to meet the needs of the community and help Burning Man culture continue to flourish.

censuslogoData from the Census also helps the organization represent the Burner community in conversations with local, state and federal  agencies and elected officials. Census data is also used to understand the impact we have on the environment. Ultimately, we want to reduce our carbon footprint and make the event more sustainable. In the last few years, the Burning Man organization has rolled out several programs (like Burner Express) to encourage these efforts and the Census is one way that we track the year-to-year impact of those measures with information like the number of vehicles on the road, the number of people per vehicle and the increased use of the Burner Express.

More importantly, however, the Census is about YOU. This is your chance to have your presence in BRC counted and to learn about our community. It gives Burners the ability to understand just a bit more about the city that many of us call home. It is a chance for us all to learn who our neighbors might be, what brings them out to Burning Man, and what changes are taking place in BRC from one year to the next. Learn more about how the data is collected and analyzed or how to join the volunteer team, and then check out the Census results through the years:

2019 Census

2019 Population Analysis (PDF coming soon)

2018 Census

2018 Population Analysis (PDF, 4MB)

2017 Census

2017 Summary Report (PDF, 8 MB)
2017 Population Analysis (PDF, 25 MB)

2016 Census

2016 AfterBurn Report (PDF, 20 MB)
2016 Annual Population Analysis (PDF, 49 MB)

2015 Census

2015 AfterBurn Report (PDF, 2.6 MB)
2015 Expanded Census Report
(PDF, 5.2 MB)

2014 Census

2013 Census

2012 Census

2011 Census

2010 Census

2009 Census

2008 Census

2006 Census

2007 Census

2005 Census

*No surveys were taken in the years 2002 through 2004

2001 Survey

Annual Event Archives

Here you will find links that will take you on a trip through the past — through the history of Burning Man — from its early days on a small beach in San Francisco through its evolution into the bustling temporary metropolis of 70,000+ people and sprawling diaspora that Burning Man has become today. Indeed, Burning Man has grown from a small group of people gathering spontaneously to a community of over a million people.

It is impossible to truly understand the event as it is now without understanding how it has evolved. For a high-level overview of each year, see our Historical Timeline.

For more details, look through the archives for each year, starting with Burning Man 1986-1996 for the legendary story of Burning Man’s beginnings. These archives contain descriptions of each year’s art theme, theme camps, large art installations, as well as maps, journals of our city being built, the newsletters to the community, issues of the Black Rock Gazette (a daily news publication that was produced and printed on the playa), and clean up reports for each year.

These archives represent the history of not only our event, but our community and our culture, as they are one in the same.

Historical Publications

brc_gazetteIn Burning Man’s pre-Internet years, the community relied on printed communications to stay connected.  These early publications contain some of the first essays on the emerging culture and philosophy, and provide some intriguing insights into Burning Man’s evolution.

Building Burning Man

Published from 1991-1999, this newsletter was a primary means of connecting the community between Burns. Its pages feature some seminal writing on the event and the culture from Larry Harvey, Stuart Mangrum, Louis Brill, Erik Davis, and other early observers, including the mysterious Darryl VanRhey (hint: it’s an anagram).

Black Rock Gazette

Founded by Danger Ranger in 1992, Black Rock City’s first daily newspaper was published onsite during the event until 2005. Occasionally informative, frequently absurd, its wry humor was rooted in the prankster culture of the Cacophony Society and the outsider spirit of ‘zine culture.

Burning Man Journal

In 2000 the Building Burning Man newsletter morphed into a glossy four-color magazine with an emphasis on art and culture. Its wider coverage also facilitated discussions of post-event issues like playa restoration and helped launch the Regional Network.

Tip Sheets

Starting in 2007, when the population of Black Rock City started to outstrip its ability to communicate culture across the broad expanse of its citizenry, Burning Man began creating “Tip Sheets” to provide key information to participants, whether they be newbies or multi-year veterans. They are handed out at the Greeters Station, to educate people about the ins and outs of being a citizen of Black Rock City.