You’re Doing It Wrong! Stop Burning Your Art and Start Burning Your Art!

Burning Man is grateful that legendary 15th-century Florentine Friar Savonarola has agreed to write an occasional feature for our Renaissance series called “Savonarola’s Corner.”  This is the first installment.

Part of the Art, Money, and the Renaissance blog series

Savonarola’s Corner

Fellow servants of Christ:

I was thrilled to learn that for almost 30 years, thousands of people have been gathering in the desert, a place of testing and faith, to burn art. What could be more righteous?

But I have since come to understand that you people are actually burning art in order to celebrate it. Obviously I’m disappointed, but, look, that’s a rookie mistake.

It’s okay. You’ll be embarrassed for a while, probably have to mortify your flesh – oh wait, you’re doing that already. Well maybe try fasting by living only on water for a whi…dammit. That too, huh? Honestly, you’d make excellent medieval Christians except for this one thing.

But this is an easy mistake to fix. That’s what I’m here for.  You’re welcome for this intervention.

Look, all of you just have to stop burning your art and start burning your art.

Whatever, you know what I mean.

Hear me, oh vain heathens, before it is too late, and you are surrounded by all consuming fire!

I mean that in a bad way.

To burn art isn’t to celebrate it, but to destroy it! The cleansing fire is an appeal to heaven to douse our sins in flame and elevate our souls and become one with the heavenly host who have at last found their true purpose on earth!

Okay, I didn’t mean you should enjoy it.

Well no, obviously you should enjoy it. But not that way. The other way. Enjoy it without having fun. Be grim. No, grimmer. Stop giggling.

Be the way where you’re burning art for the hatred, not the love. You’re so CLOSE! Come on, you’ve got this!

Let’s start with the basics: you get a bunch of art. You all gather round, and you burn it. Right? How do you not see the hatred? How do you not see that this is righteous aggression?

After all the art is burned, you have LESS ART. Do the math, people!

Throughout history, the greatest act of hatred towards art that a person could take was to burn it. That’s what you DO when you hate art! I don’t understand how you can be getting this so wrong!

Seriously. Stop giggling.


About the author: Savonarola


Girolamo Savonarola (September 1452 – 23 May 1498) was an Italian Dominican friar and preacher active Renaissance Florence whose prophetic and apocalyptic visions led to the mass incineration of secular art in the "Bonfire of the Vanities," and the overthrow of the ruling Medici family. After defying the Vatican, he himself was burned at the stake, and the Medicis returned to power in 1512.

2 Comments on “You’re Doing It Wrong! Stop Burning Your Art and Start Burning Your Art!