Introducing the 2016 Black Rock City Honoraria Art Installations

Art season has arrived! Read on to see the list of art installations selected for 2016 Black Rock City Honoraria grants.

Da Vinci’s Workshop is going to be a spectacular theme. You’ll see Leonardo’s influence everywhere; think flying machines, the movements of the heavenly bodies, lighthouses and lenses and optical illusions. There will even be a functioning, participatory blacksmith shop — the Piazza de Ferro — built by the Iron Monkeys. Sparks will fly!

On the other end of the spectrum of Leonardo’s fascinations, this year’s submissions contained lots of animal, anatomical forms: a whale, a giant insect, gorillas, an octopus, a bear, a boar, a herd of horses, and a 12-foot tall fire-breathing Kaiju MechaGator!

There was an unusually high number of mushroom-themed submissions this year. Maybe Leonardo was into that, too!

But not all the news is about what’s new; Black Rock City 2016 will see the return of some of the greatest art and artists in its storied history. We are thrilled to announce that David Best will return with his crew to build the Temple this year for the ninth time. His most recent Temple in BRC was 2014’s Temple of Grace. Remember that one? The one called “Grace” that collapsed with a perfect pirouette into its own footprint when it burned? We can look forward to something new and equally amazing from this year’s Temple.

Other Black Rock City favorites returning to the playa this year will include Kate Raudenbush, HYBYCOZO, Michael Christian and Christopher Schardt. Medusa Madness will also return for an encore, and if you didn’t see it come alive at the end of last year’s event… well, get ready.

Chronosydra by Kathryn Greenberg and Dust Crusaders
Chronosydra by Kathryn Greenberg and Dust Crusaders

Burning Man Arts is funding BRC art to the tune of $1.2 million this year, including these Honoraria recipients, as well as the sculptures, the bell towers, and the 33 Guild Workshops in the Piazza around the Man.

Seven international projects received Honoraria grants, two in Canada and one each in England, India, New Zealand, Russia and Spain. Four Honoraria recipients have never been to Black Rock City, and 21 more are leading a project for the first time. And no report on Burning Man art would be complete without mentioning that, of the 60 projects granted BRC Honoraria, 20 of them will play with fire.

Of course, most of the art in BRC is stuff people just decide to up and do, with or without outside funding. So take a virtual stroll through the 2016 BRC Honoraria projects, and if you have some vision that is missing from the list, you are warmly invited to make it happen.

Full project descriptions with images will be available later in the season.

2016 Black Rock City Honoraria Recipients

10 Benches of Sitting Man, The — Amber Coutts — Felton, CA

Adventure Vending Machine — Rick Rothbart — Oakland, CA

Automata Equis — Heather Stewart — Oakland, CA

Awakening — Ryan Elmendorf and Nick Geurts — Wheat Ridge, CO

Black Rock City Supper Club — Carlyn Perona and Dave King — Reno, NV

Black Rock Lighthouse Project, The — Max Poynton and Hel Skelter Inc. — San Francisco, CA

Burntanical Garden — Lynn Gamroth — Washoe Valley, NV

Cadillac Ranch Remixed — Keith Muscutt — Santa Cruz, CA

Catacomb of Veils — Dan Sullivan — San Francisco, CA

Celestial Mechanica — Jessika Welz — San Francisco, CA

Chiminea Planetaria — Spencer Kane Edgerton (AKA Ranger Quicksilver) — Tucson, AZ

Chronosydra — Kathryn Greenberg and Dust Crusaders — San Francisco, CA

DaVinci Virus — Brennan Steele — New Orleans, LA

Dreams of Flight — Michael Gard — San Francisco, CA

Dust City Diner — Michael Brown — San Francisco, CA

Dusty Supper, The — Jamie Joyce — Winter Park, FL

Enunciation — Taylor Harrison — Los Angeles, CA

Firmament — Christopher Schardt — Oakland, CA

Flocons — Anna-Gaelle Marshall and Dusty Visions — Portland, OR

Fractal Rock — Pooja Shah and Stijn van der Linden — Fremont, CA

Giant Weta, The — Andrew Benson and Auckland Burners — Auckland, New Zealand

Grove — Shilo Shiv Suleman, Saba Ghole, Sean Stevens — Bangalore, India

Helios — Kate Raudenbush — New York, NY

Horizon Lines — Tyler Buckheim — Key West, FL

HYBYCOZO – Heart of Gold — Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu — Oakland, CA

Identity Reorganization Portal — Michael Emery — Santa Cruz, CA

Imago — Kirsten Berg — Berkeley, CA

Intention — Will Buchanan — Oakland, CA

Jar of Sand — Trish Dolman — Vancouver, Canada

“Jedi Temple” – “ Dog Temple” – “Jedi Dog Temple” (Working Title / Kids Temple) — Sagan Bocskor — Las Vegas, NV

Koi Pond, The — JoeJoe Martin — San Francisco, CA

Last Apothecary, The — Shing Yin Khor and the Black Rock Civilian Defense Corps — Los Angeles, CA

Le Attrata — Therm — Oakland, CA

Lord Snort — Bryan Tedrick — Glen Ellen, CA

MAHALYCH (Birding Man) — Vasily Shchetinin / Василий Щетинин — Saint-Petersburg, Russia

MechaGator, The — Ryan S. Ballard — New Orleans, LA

Mechan 9 — Tyler FuQua — Eagle Creek, OR

Mechanica Musica — Douglas Ruuska — Brighton, MA

Medusa Madness — Kevin Clark — Petaluma, CA

OCTAVIUS — Peter Hazel — Verdi, CA

Oid (Working Title) — michael christian — Berkeley, CA

Piazza di Ferro — Iron Monkeys — Seattle, WA

Plug ’N Play — John Parts Taylor/David Bacchus Marglin — San Francisco, CA

Pulse Portal — Davis McCarty — Chicago, IL

Renaiximent – (Renaissance) — Miguel Arraiz Garcia — Valencia, Spain

Roshanai (Illuminate) — Charles Gadeken — San Francisco, CA

RotoFuego — Leo O’Brien — Oakland, CA

Rube Awakening Magic Bike Rack — Mark Melnick — Las Vegas, NV

Seeing humanity for what it really is — Laurence Vallières — Montréal, Canada

Sharky-Go-Round/Ghost Shark — Kirk McNeill — Santa Cruz, CA

Shrumen Lumen — Foldhaus Artist Collective — San Francisco, CA

Space Whale, The — Matthew Schultz and the Pier Group with Android Jones — Sparks, NV

Spire of Fire — Steve Atkins and Eric Smith — Washoe Valley, NV

Tangential Dreams — Arthur Mamou-Mani — London, England

Temple Project — David Best and the Temple Crew — Petaluma, CA

The Light is Inside You — Yelena Filipchuk — Oakland, CA

Traveling Sound Museum, The — Mike Rosenthal — Brooklyn, NY

Ursa Major — Lisa and Robert Ferguson — Alameda, CA

Wittgenstein, Da Vinci, Rachmaninoff: A Recursive Wooden Design — Landon Committed Goldberg — Eugene, OR

Top image: The Koi Pond by JoeJoe Martin, illustration by Sherry Wong

About the author: Jon Mitchell

Jon Mitchell

, a.k.a. Argus, was publisher of the Burning Man Journal, the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter, and the Burning Man website from 2016 to 2019. He joined the Comm Team as a volunteer in 2010 and as year-round staff in 2014. He co-wrote a big story about spending 24 hours at the Temple of Juno in 2012. His first Burn was in 2008.

40 Comments on “Introducing the 2016 Black Rock City Honoraria Art Installations

  • The Hustler says:

    While everyone knows next year was better, and last year was the last bad year, I’m seriously looking forward to more epic art.

    I may complain a lot, but under all that is a deep appreciation for the art and the epic, superhuman effort it takes to make the magic happen. I look forward to the art all year long, while thinking about how awesome it was the previous year (most likely with BMIR or a Distrikt podcast streaming).

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  • Eggchairsteve says:

    So exciting…. and I SO want these to be links! (or at least pix added)

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  • KJ says:

    Thank you to all these artists and creators. I cannot wait to it!

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  • While all the “big art” is being planned and prepared for this year’s burn, as a jeweler and book author, (Jewelry of Burning Man), I invite you to search out the “little art” hanging around BRC Citizen’s necks. Nevertheless, congratulations to those awarded an Honorarium. Yay! More wonderful art for the Playa.

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    • Buena Chica says:

      Indeed Karen… its the little personal art that Burners create as GIFTS that make my Burn every single year!!! GREAT BOOK… what a GIFT or love you created for us all!! Great research!!!

      Buena Chica

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    • Gloria Phillips says:

      Karen, I was just gifted your book from a friend! WOW!!!! I love the stories and the art! I agree that the small art is also a LARGE part of the art and gift that IS Burning Man! Kudos to all the artists of large and small art. )'(

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  • Scott Kelley says:

    What is the bridge image from?

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  • Bosco says:

    Looks like living in the Bay area of California really pays off for having your art grant come through.

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    • Mark Kaplan says:

      That was my thought as well.

      I’m sure a lot of it comes down to transportation feasibility, but out of 59 grants, 42 were from California, Nevada, Washington or Oregon.

      32 were from California alone.

      That seems a little…excessive.

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      • Grapes says:

        While I understand the frustration that a large number of honoraria are from the Cali area, I think it would be good to know how many actual submissions came from Cali versus elsewhere. I think we are all aware that a vast number of burners come from the Cali area, and before we criticize the choice, maybe we should find out what percentage of submissions came from Cali. If 60% of submissions came from California, then 60% of the honoraria being chosen from the area actually makes a lot of sense. Just my two cents.

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      • Wild Bill says:

        It make’s great sense, unless proven otherwise, that California’s (Burning Man) art would be chosen, and statistically honored, to represent the event. Proximity plays a huge factor in making unreality real. These people make it happen near here, because they ARE near here. There are many Philanthropic humans that manage to transmit great ideas across vast expanses of space and time. With distance, there are less receivers of this tangible produce. Untill kids can pump their playdough factory spooge star toob thingy from New Atlantis to Timbuktoo, it will always be this way. If you want change, make it happen at 7:30 on your street (wait, where do you live again?) There are plenty of artworks that seem to go unnoticed. I have seen many works that, if the artist only knew how only one was affected, would never need to brave the cold hard heart of Burning Man and would chose not to stray, nor wither, knowing that what they do affects those across the universe. – Wild Bill (goddamn, I think my sentences are art and I sure do love a good lookin’ comma.

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    • David says:

      Los Angeles has one of the most thriving art scenes in the country. Yet only 2 art grants compared to 30 from the Bay Area? I smell bullshit.

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      • daylightfullday says:

        Who cares where the art comes from? Why does that matter? Is there a competition I’m not aware of? I live in LA for 10 years and plenty of creative camps and art installations were designed/built in Los Angeles. Most people aren’t aware that large BMORG honorarium projects built by collectives like the Flaming Lotus Girls have volunteers flock to the Bay Area to collaborate and build the project. Traveling all the way from London, Ireland, Paris, etc and many states across the U.S. So maybe you shouldn’t be instigating drama by complaining about who gets funding, or what’s “not fair”. If you smell bullshit, it’s because it’s probably all around you. Do you live in LA? I suggest you step away from it. I did, and much happier since.

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      • Rebar King says:

        It’s not uncommon to have folks from other areas build there pieces local to SF. Transportation cost from farther out alone can bankrupt a project.

        Nice to see the Bangalore India one though.

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  • NINJALINA says:

    What an incredible year we will create.

    Thank you to everyone!

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  • Andrew Johnstone says:

    From all of us on the Man pavilion design team I would like to congratulate you all and look forward to seeing you triumph in the desert. Thanks for making each year feel like my first.

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  • Graham Berry says:

    Nice post Argus!! Thanks for the update.

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  • Robert Ellsworth says:

    Hats off to those that were selected.
    I submitted a proposal this year and was not chosen. That’s the way it goes.
    I have both won and lost in this game of art submission.
    Just dust yourself on and try again.
    Congratulations to my future friends.

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    • Well, why not bring your art out anyway?
      I, too, am in the same shoes, but my team from last year (“Love Tester”) is indefatigable and enthusiastic.
      We are discussing now what to do & how to do it.

      Perhaps the theme this year will inspire independent patronage?

      Congrats to all the funded artists, as well as to all of those who successfully prepared a full proposal. I encourage the unfunded to still build something anyway!

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    • Former Burner says:

      That’s because your name isn’t Bocskor. If it was you would have gotten a grant even though you’re only 4 years old. Yeah, the process is totally fair. There’s One set of rules for us, another set for them. You can blatantly steal From the community if you know the right people.

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  • I had decided to sit this year out after the typewriter, but this year’s theme and crop of grantees may just make me change my mind. Congrats to all, it looks like it;s going to be incredible!

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  • Life says:

    I hear that Fun Connection will be back this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • BIzzy says:

    I heard Fun Connection will be there too with Beyonce!!!!

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  • Blue says:

    Looking forward to all of these, especially the Space Whale. I hope I get to actually see more this year. Congratulations all!!!

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  • BillBo says:

    Congrats and carpe diem to all the artists and all the people who help bring that remote dusty playa to life.

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  • Soul patch says:

    Jason, I loved the typewriter, I do hope to see yoyr work again in August.

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  • Soul patch says:

    Jason, I loved the typewriter, I do hope to see your work again in August.

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  • Buena Chica says:

    CONGRATZ BURER ARTiSTS!! Let the work begin!!! )'(

    *** Having witnessed Latino hired labor to build some of these honoraria art work I was INCREADiBLY DISAPPOiNTED!!! *** Jon Mitchell, what can be done about this?

    I forwarded the article I wrote for The Daily Beacon last year to the last Editor of Rabbit Speaks and NOTHiNG was done about it.

    This year I plan to document direct findings and send them over to you and the TEAM that selects these art works so they are NOT invited to submit again. But I am sorry to see that one such Art piece snack into your selected group again.

    Let’s work together t insure that the prejudices of the ‘default world’ do not follow us into Playa.

    Your Latina Dusty Burner,

    Buena Chica

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    • Jon Mitchell says:

      Hi, Buena Chica. We are still investigating this issue. It would be really helpful if you could document your findings, which it sounds like you’re planning to do. You can email me with info whenever you have it, and I’ll keep you posted.

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  • Hunter says:

    David Best…coming out of retirement to create another Temple masterpiece for all of us to enjoy. Thank You David!

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  • Former Burnet says:

    This list is bullshit. A 4 year old is so gifted and talented they earned a grant? I’m sure it has nothing to do with their parents being connected to the BORG. The BORG has been ripping us off for so long they’re not even hiding it anymore. One more reason why I won’t go back.

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  • Braydos37 says:

    Hey Everyone!

    I’ll be a first time burner this year and just had a quick question (sorry I know it’s unrelated to this post). I do quite a bit of fire twirling back in Australia and was curious if this was okay to do at Burning Man? I couldn’t see any videos or real posts about it on Google. I would bring my own staff of course. I noted there is a team of fire specialist that come from all over the world. Obviously I’m not one of them but I’d still love to twirl if I could!

    Let me know any advise you have so I know whether to bring it or leave it at home.


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    • Hey Brad – it’s the biggest fire festival in the world, in a non-flammable desert. Go crazy – though don’t drop anything on the playa is the secret. We’ve been going from Melbourne and joining up with the U.K. Fireworks Collective for the past 3 years. See you soon! :D

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  • So excited to see “Last Apothecary, The — Shing Yin Khor and the Black Rock Civilian Defense Corps” – I’m thinking this is the same crew as the Last Outpost? Stay SMALL (Silent, moving, alert, low and living? :). Also Jason you’re typewriter was beautiful, thank you for the contribution to my reality.

    My life, as a dis.. My Li.. My life.. As a disembodied head..

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