The psychedelic stylings of Burning Man will be reaching a wider audience with the installation of No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. Visitors can enjoy photographs, sculptures, and interactive installations from the annual festival, usually just ephemera, only a stones-throw away from the White House. The challenges of translating a massive outdoor festival (where sculptures are designed to be burnt to the ground at the end) to a museum setting wasn’t lost on the curators. Art cars and sculptures, some originally on display on the Playa and others commissioned for the show, jewelry, and even experiences–through VR–in an institutional setting reveals an underlying tension between the disposable, freewheeling nature of Burning Man and the typically more stoic nature of museum exhibitions. Large-scale installations in the gallery form the heart of the show, but the Renwick has partnered with Golden Triangle Business Improvement District to spread six outdoor pieces throughout the neighborhood. From March 30 through December 2018, residents can spy:
- The enormous bronze head of Maya Angelou (Maya’s Mind by Mischell Riley),
- A 14-foot-tall bear made of pennies (Ursa Major by Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson),
- An abandoned tech temple (Future’s Past by Kate Raudenbush),
- Enormous bronze crows (Untitled by Jack Champion),
- A 3-dimensional, laser-cut “gem” that diffuses light from within (Golden Spike by HYBYCOZO),
- And a monumental metal “XOXO” sculpture (XOXO by Laura Kimpton with Jeff Schomberg).