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1991

Aug 26th - Sept 2nd

Theme:

The Early Years

Population:

250

Burning Man 1989 -1995
Man stands on ground

  • Head: Blue neon outline
    Diamond head, cross X chin
  • Body: Curved underside wood
    Blue inside front
    No neon on ribs
  • Man stands on the ground
  • Pull rope broke during erection of Man
  • Burn Night Sunday

  • Larry Harvey is awarded grant by Capp Street Project for an installation of the completed statue at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.
  • Burning Man is built and installed on a barge which floats between two docks at Fort Mason. John Law creates a neon outline of Burning Man that is installed on the exterior front of the figure's wooden frame.
  • The first desert survival guide is produced for participants attending the Burning Man event.
  • Burning Man is ignited by fire performance artist and dancer, Crimson Rose.
  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requires a recreation permit and files an environmental impact report regarding the condition of the camp site, post-celebration: "After the event was over, within a week of inspection, no trace of the burning ceremony or the camp site can be found."
Themecamps and Notable City Destinations:
  • Bread baking -simple brick oven
  • 1st Church of the Last Laugh
  • 1st airplane landing
  • 504 PM art car

Burning Man's First Art Car

The 5:04 PM Earthquake Car.
Rough Draft July 1991
Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert

Year two, the Man was lit by literally the first fire-twirlers at Burning Man …

“It wasn’t a thing yet,” John Law says, “when these two women lit the Man on fire that way. Their names are Nell Friedman and Teresa Dynaberg. They were circus performers with Make-A-Circus and friends of mine. ‘We wanna do something!,’ they said. So they made things to twirl fire with and they twirled fire.”

Summer Burkes — Early Man-Man: proto-Burnin’ Dude builders and inspirational catalysts

Going out there to do art was not necessarily the understood purpose at the beginning Doty recalls: “It always surprised me that people were doing art out there. I didn’t think of it as something people would necessarily do. I thought of it as more of a camping trip/party type of thing. So anything anybody did anything, it was like, ‘Oh, wow, someone did something!’ And back then, people actually slept at night There weren’t a lot of generators. In 1991, I’m not sure there were any generators.”

Brian Doherty — This is Burning Man, interviewing Peter Doty

Crimson rehearses in 95-degree heat for her much-anticipated pre-burn dance performance.
Burning Man is built and installed on a barge which floats between two docks at Fort Mason. John Law creates a neon outline of Burning Man that is installed on the exterior front of the figure's wooden frame.


The barge floated between two docks that jutted parallel to it and perpendicular to the shore. For a good video opportunity, they let the barge, with the Man standing in glory, drift back down between the two docks . Cacophonists stationed out on the docks were supposed to tug back on the ropes, keeping the barge berthed so it could return after it floated away from shore a bit.

"The barge started moving down the dock, and I started noticing people on the docks who were supposed to be watching our ropes wandering off to get beer," Radcliffe remembers. "We ended up with only two people holding the rope on one side , three on the other. And we're picking up speed."

"I shouted up to John, 'What do we do now? Go to Tahiti?' Cause we're about to launch this enormous barge into the bay without any hope of getting it back. I grabbed a couple of hammers and I began pounding a cadence on the deck of the barge to get peoples' attention. By the time people ran back to the dock to grab the ropes, we had about ten feet of hawser line left."

Brian Doherty – This is Burning Man, interviewing Chris Radcliffe

Internet Archive of the
Fort Mason Man viewing

Once again, we will accompany the Burning Man into the vast Black Rock Desert of Nevada for an event-filled weekend. In the middle of this barren flat, we will create a temporary community around a 4-story tall wooden man, sheathed in blue neon.