Close [X]


Aug 29th - Sept 5th


Rites of Passage



Burning Man 2011
Man perched atop two pinnacles divided by a chasm

  • The Man was poised on two triangular structures, reaching approximately 40 feet in the air. With a bridge conjoining the two pyramidal structures near the apex.
  • Reaching upwards to the top of the structure were two original murals created by Bay area artist (and first time Burner) Brian Carter.
  • Surrounding the central Man tower were four tetrahedrons topped with dishes that shot flames into the sky. Created by Steve Atkins and Eric Smith of "Spire of Fire" fame.
  • Triangular structures around the Man were "Tetralights" created by Jack Haye, Mike Hollibaugh, Julie Young, and Claus Brigmann, provided an intimate space for participants to enjoy the center of Black Rock City.
  • Yellow neon body core and head, with red arms and legs, blue tipped at the hands and feet.
  • One of the most important elements of the Man Base this year was a tribute to Rod Garrett, city designer and Man base visionary. Sadly Rod passed away during "build week", the week prior to the event. As a tribute to all Rod gave to making Black Rock City the beautiful, unique, inspiring city it is, Jack "Opa" Haye constructed a box that held Rod's ashes just prior to Saturday's festivities. While Rod never got a chance to see his concepts come to life during the 2011 event, we felt his spirit at the Man, and know he is always with us.

One of the most remarkable installations in 2011 was the "Trojan Horse". On Friday of the event, over 500 volunteers showed up for the largest art move ever experienced in Black Rock City, pulling the piece several hundred feet to where it was lit with a flaming arrow and burned.

by Chris Hankins, Diarmaid Horkan and the International Art Megacrew Reno, NV, Dublin, Ireland, and Aukland, NZ. Photo Scott London

The Temple of Transition was created by a group of artists called the International Arts Megacrew and was the most massive temple built to date, consisting of six towers, the tallest of which topped out at 120 feet. The sheer scale of this impressive structure was visible from the nearby town of Gerlach.

Drawing from their experience the previous year with the Megatropolis project, the team included crew from around the world who undertook their pre-playa build in Reno. The crew enlisted the help of several artists to develop unique, beautiful additions to the already impressive structure. One of these additions was a robotic computer-controlled music machine called the "Gamelatron". Mounted to the walls of the large central tower, the Gamelatron played authentic Balinese gamelon music throughout the day and night.

Additionally, the "Earth Harp" was mounted to the front of the Temple at the 6:00 entrance, including a platform with harp cords that reached out to all six structures. The temple also featured beautiful stained glass windows created from gathered antique glass shards strung together by wire cords. All in all, it was an impressive, overwhelming, and yet intimate space for personal reflection.


As Burning Man's Regional Network continued to grow (175 contacts serving communities in 19 countries on five continents around the world in 2011), it also gathered momentum. This was reflected in the ambitious Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE) project, which consisted of 23 sculptures encircling the Man, each crafted by a different Regional group, representing the expression of Burning Man in their local communities. All of the CORE projects were ignited simultaneously on Thursday night of the event.

Oh, the Places You'll Go at Burning Man!
Directed by Teddy Saunders, Parker Howell and William Walsh. Based on Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go". Filmed at Burning Man 2011, starring the citizens of Black Rock City.

It is that time of year again when many individuals and groups are taking concepts and ideas turning them into to Art Proposals.
The moments when an idea is being hatched is a magical time in the process of artistic creation.
It is also that time of year when one who has created work for Burning Man in previous years also thinks, if I make another piece, where the hell will I store it?
Jess Hobbs -Art in Waiting

The Black Rock Arts Foundation celebrated their 10th birthday. In the first 10 years of its existence, BRAF has supported:

73 grantee projects in over 10 countries!
103 projects in total!
61 events!

In 2011 the Raygun Gothic Rocketship stood on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, Bliss Dance lived on Treasure Island, Karen Cusolito's "Valiant Flowers", was freshly installed on Market in San Francisco, Ecstasy by Karen Cusilito and Dan Das Mann was coming home to American Steel from Hayes Valley, the Spire of Fire lit up Reno for Artown and the City of Reno in Conjunction with BRAF, were been working in collaboration displaying work such as Kate Raudenbush’s Dual Nature and Michael Christian and 12 young women from 7 different Oakland schools began work on "Bike Bridge" among other projects.

The MOOP blog series begins, written by The Hun.

The 2011 Playa Restoration team sweeps across the desert in this moving tribute to our brave men and women of the Black Rock.
The Hun - The Great MOOP March

2011 was truly a phenomenal year in Burning Man’s history. For the first time in 25 years of holding the event, the number of people wanting to come to Burning Man exceeded the population limit stipulated in our Bureau of Land Management (BLM) permit.

 Victims of our own success, we were forced stop ticket sales in July 2011. Many Burners, long accustomed to being able to purchase their tickets at their leisure, were caught by surprise and found themselves without tickets. A mild panic set in amongst the community, but it is believed that most people who wanted tickets ultimately got them through the usual summertime dynamics of the secondary markets in the end.

With a record peak population of 53,963 on playa in 2011, wait times to enter the city when the Gate opened on Sunday were the longest on record.

Participants making the trek out to Black Rock City were rewarded with as hard-packed a playa surface as we’ve seen since 1996, and consistently glorious weather throughout the event week with nary a single whiteout the entire time (a warning to first-timers: this is NOT normal)

The Burning Man founders decided to increase the budget for art grants by more than 10% from 2010, and with this increased budget, Burning Man was able to fund 45 honorarium art installations, up from a normal 32-35. This made possible such incredible art pieces at Peter Hudson’s “Charon”, Flaming Lotus Girls’ “Tympani Lambada”, “The Pier” by Matt Schultz, and Warm Baby’s “The Wet Dream” to name just a few. Well over 300 artworks graced the playa in 2011, including Laura Kimpton’s “LOVE” and Jim Bowers’ record-breaking one-mile clock “Burning Time”.

To accommodate Burning Man’s philosophical growth, Black Rock City LLC launched the independent non-profit organization Burning Man Project in August of 2011, which will work in several program areas to spread the culture and ethos of Burning Man into the world, year-round.

Rod Garrett, Burning Man’s long-time city planner and designer, passed away in August of 2011. Rod was instrumental in the creation of many key elements of Black Rock City as we know it, including the design for the city layout, Center Camp Cafe, and all the Man bases from 2001-2011. Rod’s keen intellect, visionary genius and insightful counsel will be sorely missed, and his vision will resonate in the reflection of our city for years to come.

Read more

an overview of Peter Hudson's vertical 3d stroboscopic zoetrope "Charon" which premièred at 2011 Burning Man, shot and edited by Jason Tongen

Mutant Vehicles

  • Tickets to the Burning Man event sold out for the first time ever, as we reached the maximum allowable population for Black Rock City as per BLM event stipulations.
  • We saw a surge in counterfeited tickets, a result of the increased demand due to the sell-out.
  • Participants enjoyed one of the best playa surfaces ever seen in Black Rock City, making playa travel easy.
  • Black Rock City streets were named after rites of passage, from Anniversary to Liminal.
  • The Black Rock City plan included 16 new streets to ease pedestrian and bicycle movement and access at the back of the city. The new streets were short radials at the fifteen and forty-five clock positions, beginning mid-city at Graduation, and ending at the last street, Liminal. Graduation was a wider boulevard starting in 2011, and double-deep blocks sat along Graduation's border.
  • The city's layout was the largest yet, augmented to accommodate the increase in population, including expanding the open playa by 400 feet from Man to Esplanade, with over two miles between the outer arc streets from three o'clock to nine o'clock, and the longest pentagonal perimeter fence yet, stretching 9.2 miles.
  • 36 Art Support, 49 Burning Man Department camps, 845 Theme Camps and 36 Villages requested placement in Black Rock City. About 920 camps in total were placed.
  • The budget for art grants was increased by more than 10% from 2010, allowing the funding of 45 honorarium art installations, up from a normal 32-35.
  • Over 309 art projects were registered and placed on the open playa.
  • The Temple of Transition, created by International Arts Megacrew, was by far the largest temple created for Burning Man to date, with its central spire standing 120 feet tall.
  • The Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE) project consisted of 22 sculptures of up to 20'x20'x20' encircling the Man, created by 22 different Regional groups, expressing the Burner spirit of their specific region. They were burned simultaneously on Thursday night.
  • Participants arriving and departing Black Rock City at peak traffic times (Gate opening, and Exodus) experienced their longest wait times yet.
  • Exodus instituted an eco- and participant-friendly "pulsing" technique of allowing vehicles to stage as they waited to exit the city.
  • The Department of Mutant Vehicles implemented a new database system and changed on-playa licensing processes, significantly decreasing wait times for vehicle owners to get licensed.
  • The Regional Network welcomed 36 new Regional Contacts from around the world, including Shanghai, Singapore, Johannesburg (Gauteng), Lithuania, Barcelona, Scandinavia, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Nova Scotia, and The Philippines.
  • There are now more than 175 Regional Contacts in the Burning Man Regional Network, serving communities that span 19 countries and five continents.
  • Over 140 Regional Contacts and Burning Man community leaders attended the 5th Annual Regional Network Leadership Summit in San Francisco for a weekend of training, collaboration, and shared practice.
  • The Reno/Sparks Drive-Thru Recycling Project returned, expanding to include a location in Wadsworth.
  • Black Rock City LLC launched the independent non-profit organization Burning Man Project in August of 2011, which will work in several program areas to spread the culture and ethos of Burning Man into the world, year-round.
  • As the Man burned in 2011, a box sat nearby, containing the ashes of Rod Garrett, Burning Man's long-time city planner and designer, who passed away in August of 2011. Rod was instrumental in the creation of many key elements of Black Rock City as we know it, including the design for the city layout, Center Camp Cafe, and all the Man bases from 2001-2011.
  • In May of 2011, Burning Man Headquarters moved offices to 995 Market Street, located at 6th and Market in San Francisco.
The 2011 art theme was "Rites of Passage"

When present day participants arrive at Burning Man they're met by Greeters. ... On the sixth day of the event, participants encircle Burning Man to witness its destruction. Here, for the very first time, an entire community regards itself. People do this with the reassurance that another Man, an always slightly different Man, will rise anew. At the the end of the event, thousands silently surround a temple dedicated to that strangest and most fearful change of all: the loss of loved ones and our ultimate departure from the world. From first to last, Burning Man has always been a rite of passage.

Our theme this year invites participants to join with others in creating rites of passage. The content of these rites may be as various as life itself. Whether such performances are ludicrous or solemn, their aim is to remove us from the context and the cares of daily life, confront us with our vital need to be, and then return us to the fellowship of a society.

A view from the roof looking up Market.

In order to accommodate the physical growth of our organization, we moved into new offices in San Francisco's Central Market corridor in May, affording us opportunities to work with the city of San Francisco to help revitalize this long-blighted neighborhood by helping to plant the seeds of a burgeoning arts district.