“Boundless Space” Auction Will Bring Eclectic Burning Man Art to the World

It may initially appear to be an unlikely pairing — a dusty, irreverent community of creators and rabble-rousers teaming up with a traditional and world-renowned auction house. But sometimes the most unexpected combinations result in delightfully unanticipated flavors and unique experiences. 

This year, we’re taking our annual fall fundraising event global by co-producing a charitable online auction with Sotheby’s. Boundless Space… The Possibilities of Burning Man will introduce creative spirits around the world to Burning Man artists, the 10 Principles, and the remarkable feats of creativity that emerge from creators within, adjacent to, and inspired by our endlessly inventive desert city and global culture. 

We’ve penciled in September 6, 2021, to launch the auction catalogue. The auction will be open in early October, and bidding on many collectibles and ephemera will start at no minimum bid.

Funds raised through Boundless Space… The Possibilities of Burning Man will directly support participating artists and Burning Man Project’s Art and Civic Engagement programs, which nurture a global spectrum of projects and partnerships inspired by Black Rock City.

And YOU are invited to participate! We’re welcoming one and all to explore and bid on an eclectic and genre-defying collection of sculptures, ephemera, experiences, costumes, mutant vehicles, and NFTs contributed by artists, collectors and cultural instigators throughout the Burnerverse and around the world. Get ready to peruse an online catalogue filled with stories, videos, and other juicy bits of content about each and every work and experience.

The Boundless Space catalogue is nearly complete. A globally aware and diverse group of Burners and art specialists are serving as our auction committee, recommending and reaching out to artists, community members and collectors. We’ve received an astonishing response and are close to having a full catalogue. We’re looking forward to sharing and telling the many stories of these creators and their work.

Artists and contributors can opt to receive a significant percentage of their work’s auction sale price from Burning Man Project. All contributors will also be able to feature their work, statements, videos, and links to their websites in the auction catalogue, opening new opportunities to build direct relationships with those who are interested in buying or otherwise supporting their work.

We can thank Burning Man Project board member Fab 5 Freddy for lighting the fuse that brought this eclectic charitable co-production to life. An artist and long-time Burner with a fabled history in the New York hip hop and art communities, Fab approached Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart during the 2020 Hip Hop auction and proposed an auction to raise funds for Burning Man Project. Subsequent introductions and conversations resulted in this joint effort to elevate artists, creators, and new voices.

We’re leading with Radical Inclusion, Diversity and Equity by placing particular emphasis on inviting work by BIPOC artists, prioritizing inclusivity throughout the selection and sale process, and building patronage for artists who are doing vital work. Boundless Space has the potential to bring about remarkable new cross-pollinations — attracting new artists and creative ideas to our community, while fostering new relationships and mentorships among artists, collectors, and art lovers.

While most people associate Sotheby’s with headline-making art sales, the auction house is equally known for introducing adventurous art genres and fundraising projects. Recent examples include To Beirut with Love, Hip Hop, and LoveEMC, to name a few.

We’re no stranger to producing art auctions as fundraisers. Every fall since 2006 (with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic) we’ve produced Artumnal Gathering, featuring  silent and live auctions offering experiences and artworks to raise funds for our Art and Civic Engagement programs. Traditionally an in-person event in San Francisco, Artumnal’s silent auction had limited reach within a core community of art lovers. This year, Sotheby’s global platform is giving us an exceptional opportunity to invite the world to participate in this annual autumnal event. 

If you happen to be in New York in early October, drop in to Sotheby’s New York to experience some of the works on auction, and participate in events co-created by the Burning Man community. You, your camp, or your crew can get involved by hosting your own activation or celebration — we’ll follow up with more information soon!

As we collectively emerge from a strange, insular time and re-engage with the world, together we’re taking a huge step onto the global stage, sharing our extended community’s boundless imagination, creativity and ingenuity with a new community of art lovers, creative souls, and future Burners. We’re looking forward to embarking on this adventure with you!

Cover image of The Milky Way and the Man, 2019 (Photo by Vanessa Franking)

About the author: Burning Man Project

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

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