As Bliss Dances into the Sunset, Truth is Beauty Gets a New Home

It is quite possible that there is nothing we here at Burning Man Arts love more than when our community’s artists and their art thrive in the world. After a successful four-year stay on Treasure Island in San Francisco bay, Marco Cochrane’s Bliss Dance is relocating. Bliss Dance was his first sculpture in The Bliss Project series, the intention of which is to celebrate femininity and encourage self-acceptance and self-love in women.

Last Tuesday, the artist announced that the second work in the series, Truth is Beauty, will be installed in San Leandro, California in late 2016, on a 10-year lease. The appreciation and love for these works doesn’t surprise us – we know that they’re both gorgeous works of art! But we are increasingly encouraged by the public demand for these works. Let’s hope other cities follow suit and seek out collaboration with our community’s artists … and it’s our aim to connect artists with such opportunities.

Debuting at Burning Man in 2010, Bliss Dance left us with wide eyes and jaws dropped. Our community hadn’t seen anything like this 40-foot tall, 9000lb figure celebrating the strength inherent in femininity, and practically demanded that it be shared with the world. The Black Rock Arts Foundation (now Burning Man Arts) couldn’t have agreed more, and collaborated with the artist in a successful fundraising campaign and installation of Bliss Dance on Treasure Island in 2011. Like many of our associated public art installations, Bliss Dance’s residency on Treasure Island was extended beyond its expected stay, and remained on view — to the delight of many — for four years. We were so fortunate to have enjoyed her sparkly, dazzling presence for so long.

Bliss Dance on Treasure Island, San Francisco, 2011. (Photo by Michael Holden)
Bliss Dance on Treasure Island, San Francisco, 2011. (Photo by Michael Holden)

But, alas, the time has come to say goodbye to Bliss. Although we (and everyone we know, it seems) would love to see her dancing in front of that gorgeous San Francisco skyline forever, the sculpture’s stainless steel interior structure was just not designed to withstand long-term exposure to the sea air. Last month Bliss Dance was de-installed from Treasure Island. Cochrane and his team will be restoring and improving the piece’s components, making its lighting effects even more brilliant, and readying it for its next home.

Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane, 2013 (Photo by Dan Adams)
Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane, 2013 (Photo by Dan Adams)

However, for those of us in the Bay Area, we don’t have to wait long to enjoy more of Cochrane’s fine work. Last Tuesday’s announcement of Truth is Beauty’s installation at the San Leandro Tech Campus proves that the public’s interest in Cochrane, and in other artists in our community, is only growing. Truth is Beauty will be the centerpiece of the new San Leandro Tech Campus, a 500,0000 square-foot technology and business center, where thousands of commuters will be able to see it each day from the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system’s San Leandro station.

The sculpture, with its 2,500 L.E.D. lights programmed with near-infinite algorithms of slowly changing color displays, is a perfect monument to how technology contributes to art and civic beautification. Yet another feat of engineering, Truth is Beauty is even taller, more massive, and more intricate than Bliss Dance, standing at 55-feet tall, weighing 13,000lbs, with over 20,000 feet of steel rod and pipe welded together in triangulated geodesic struts, and with over 50,000 single-weld points.

Congratulations to Marco and the Bliss Crew, and thank you for all the wonderful work you’ve created!

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Burning Man

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3 Comments on “As Bliss Dances into the Sunset, Truth is Beauty Gets a New Home

  • DMT says:

    This is *WONDERFUL* news!!!

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  • Rod Pujante says:

    They should restore Bliss Dance’s original ‘boy’s cut’ hairdo just like on the playa. They should also install it with no structure or building near or next to it. The ideal spot for her if you’ll ask me is in SF’s Wave Organ.

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  • Westlake Urban, the developer of the tech campus, is working closely with Marco Cochrane and his wife Julia regarding the placement of Truth is Beauty. To be placed prominently adjacent to the Downtown San Leandro BART station, every days many thousands of people who will never experience a Burn or the experience of radical inclusion or radical self-expression will experience these principals expressed in the beauty and joy of this magnificent sculpture. Many people will stop to read about why she exists — Image a World Where Women Feel Safe — who might not otherwise give this idea a second thought. San Leandro is a City in transition — and Truth is Beauty is a powerful symbol of this City’s vision of itself today.

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