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Art In an Ephemeral Age

“Art in an Ephemeral Age” is the theme of the Institute of Art and Ideas’ annual Art Festival at Hay in England, and among the many highlights this year is a look at Burning Man, perhaps the world’s preeminent gathering of ephemeral artists. Several discussion forums will tackle the subject of temporal art and performance artist Sarah Appleby will offer her own inimitable take on Burning Man.

Although I’m not able to attend the event, I was invited to exhibit some of my Burning Man photographs at the Globe, a converted church in Hay on Wye, which serves as the festival’s primary venue. The exhibit features over two dozen of my photos covering the last five years of the Burning Man festival. The show runs from November 13-28. More details here.

Bringing Back the Fire

Some of my photographs are included in a show, opening today, in Santa Rosa, California. The exhibition, “Bringing Back the Fire,” is a celebration of art and community at the annual Burning Man festival. According to the show’s press release, Burning Man “turns part of Black Rock Desert in Nevada into the ‘world’s largest outdoor art gallery’ for one week each August. Much of the art shown on the site is intended to burn — but many pieces survive, to be seen again. This exhibit celebrates some of these, and the community of participants who have created them.” The show runs through March 22, 2008 at the Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery.

On the Newsstand

My photographs from Burning Man appear in several magazines currently on the newsstand. The new issue of Nevada Magazine includes a ten-page cover story titled “Images of Burning Man” with many of my photos. The latest Public Art Review features an article by Louis Brill titled “Burning Man Photographers.” The piece showcases the work of several photographers and makes the point that while public art is often the subject of Burning Man photos, some images from the event deserve to be called art in their own right. In addition, the French magazine Néosapiens includes a full-page photo of mine from the 2004 festival. Finally, the glossy German travel magazine ADAC Reisemagazin featured a pictorial on Burning Man a few months ago in a special issue on the American west. Sierra Magazine will also publish a photo of mine from last year’s festival in their upcoming issue.

Burn, Baby, Burn

The 2006 Burning Man festival kicked off last night in Nevada’s Black Rock desert. In a story today, ABC News described the event variously as “the Woodstock of Generation X,” a “weeklong party for iPod nerds and punk-rock pixies,” and “a massive drug-fueled orgy of the senses.” (Click here for story.)

For the record, Burning Man is not a rock concert, a gathering of techies or punk-rockers, or even a drug fest. That said, Bede Moore, the writer of the ABC story, got much of it right. I’m quoted at one point in the article saying that Larry Harvey and the other founders based the event on a very enlightened set of values. Even though the festival has grown exponentially over the past 20 years, they have stayed true to those values. For many of us, it’s the thing that keeps us coming back year after year.