“No Spectators” Exhibition Traveling to Cincinnati and Oakland in 2019

Burning Man Project is pleased to share that the Smithsonian’s “No Spectators” exhibition of Burning Man art and culture will be traveling to not one but two new locations in 2019: the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Oakland Museum of California.

The exhibition in Cincinnati will open in two phases, the first on April 26 and the second (with additional art) on June 7. Both phases will close September 2.

The exhibition in Oakland will open October 12 and will close February 16, 2020.

“Each time an exhibiting museum opens its doors to Burning Man culture, we get a chance to collaborate and explore how the art is a gateway to a deeper understanding and interest in the world of Burning Man,” Burning Man Project’s Director of Art & Civic Engagement Kim Cook said.

“We know that not everyone will be able to participate in the community of Black Rock City, and it is our hope that the museum experience opens doors to new questions about how we all have the ability to express ourselves creatively in the places we call home.”

To spark a conversation about art, objects from the Burning Man collection will not have a designated exhibition area but will instead be specially curated and displayed alongside the Cincinnati Art Museum’s permanent collection. The local community is activated and excited to truly bring the exhibition to life through activities, events, and other opportunities for participation. More than sixty people attended and shared their ideas at a December community meeting held by Cincinnati Art Museum staff, with some folks driving over 100 miles to attend.

Following the Cincinnati exhibition, “No Spectators” will make its way to the OMCA in Oakland, which will be particularly special since the Bay Area is the birthplace of Burning Man. Many of the artists whose work is featured in the “No Spectators” show are based in California, and David Best, designer of the temple on display at the Renwick and many playa Temples since 2000, has been commissioned to create a 40’-tall outdoor temple as part of the OMCA exhibition. We look forward to engaging with the community and other local Burning Man artists for programming in conjunction with the exhibition in the coming months. We can’t wait to see the spirit of Burning Man shine in the backyard of where it all started!

As of December 2018, the exhibition at the Renwick has welcomed over 740,000 visitors through its doors. The exhibition, which closes January 21, has shined a spotlight on the limitless creativity flowing from the playa by bringing large-scale participatory art, installations, costumes, jewelry, photography, and ephemera to Washington, D.C. In September, the museum hosted a day-long Burning Man symposium featuring Burning Man founders, staff, artists, and local storytellers.

The companion exhibition within the gallery, “City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man,” organized by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, traces Burning Man’s origins from its countercultural roots to the world-famous desert gathering it is today.

We are so excited to see the exhibition showcased in new places. No Spectators, the brainchild of the Renwick’s Curator of Craft Nora Atkinson, is an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the art that many people know the Burning Man event for, and the artists & makers who are the cornerstone of our culture.

Stay tuned for more information and stories about both exhibitions, as well as opportunities to participate!

For more about the exhibition at the Renwick, check out our series on the Burning Man Journal.

Top photo: Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane and Julia Whitelaw casting shadows at the Renwick Museum (Photo by Manuel Pinto)

About the author: Burning Man Project

Burning Man Project

The official voice of the Burning Man organization, managed by Burning Man Project's Communications Team.