Recently we went to see Burning Man at the Cincinnati Art Museum.  This exhibit, entitled “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” was an eye opening, hands on experience for the whole family.  I will readily admit that I knew just a little bit about this unique desert experience before this exhibit.  One of my cousins regularly attends the event and gives little sneak peeks into her experience, but this exhibit shared so many things and gave visitors an interactive experience that really made visitors feel the vibe of Burning Man.

The Art of Burning Man at the Cincinnati Museum Center

The Art of Burning Man invites visitors to get up close and personal with the displays.  Hence the name “No Spectators” – the creators do not want visitors to sit back and just watch, everyone MUST interact and be a part of things!  This is not a run of the mill art museum experience.  Usually I am reminding the kids not to touch, not to get to close, and sometimes to just hold their breath as they walk past breakable masterpieces when we visit museums.  While the Cincinnati Art Museum has many opportunities for patrons throughout their collection, this exhibit goes over the top with the opportunities to interact.

Visitors are encouraged to to touch, step, look, sit, lie down and take everything in with all of their senses.  Our whole family abided by this wish and interacted with every piece that we could while we took in the beauty, wonder and downright weirdness.  It is one of the most outstanding and imagination blowing museum experiences we have had.

The Burning Man exhibit is only open until September 2nd 2019, so therefore you need to make plans to see it soon.  The exhibit and admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is free, but donations are more than welcome.    One might visit this collection at the Cincinnati Art Museum and find themselves wanting to have a true Burning Man experience in the Black Rock Desert.

No Spectators:  The Art of Burning Man

CINCINNATI— Burning Man. It’s been called “an experience in collective dreaming.” It’s a cultural movement and a thriving temporary city of more than 70,000 active participants from all over the globe who gather in the dust of the Black Rock Desert outside Reno, Nevada, for seven days.

The exhibition will take over much of the museum, exploring the maker culture, ethos, principles and creative spirit of Burning Man. The exhibition was organized by Nora Atkinson, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; it debuted at the museum’s Renwick Gallery in spring 2018.

In addition to the over-sized sculptures, the exhibition will feature jewelry, video, and photography by artists and designers who participate in Burning Man. Ephemera, archival materials and photographs will be on view in the companion exhibition City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, organized by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno; it will trace Burning Man’s origins from its countercultural roots to the world-famous desert convergence it is today.

Visitors to the exhibition will experience works by contemporary artists Candy Chang, Marco Cochrane, Duane Flatmo, Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti, Five Ton Crane Arts Collective, Scott Froschauer, Android Jones and Richard Wilks. Also included are the FoldHaus Art Collective, Aaron Taylor Kuffner, HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu), Christopher Schardt and others.

Burning Man is a hotbed of artistic expression and innovation through its shared principles. Enormous experimental art installations are erected and many are ritually burned to the ground. The event thrives on the gifts, radical self-expression and participation of those who attend, with a special reverence for art that is created through innovation and community contributions, the work is uniquely generated by the citizens of Black Rock City.

“It is one of the most influential movements in contemporary American art and culture,” said Cameron Kitchin, Cincinnati Art Museum’s Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director. “The visual culture created in conjunction with the Burning Man gathering each year is a democratic and inclusive model of artistic expression. Working with the thinkers and artists who create the culture challenges the very notion of an art museum.”

David J Brown, guest curator for the exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum said, “The highly imaginative art that happens in the desert is fueled by the Burning Man Community, where everyone contributes their imagination and capabilities to support radical co-creation. The Ten Principles support the notion that everyone is a radical artist, be radically involved, and radically celebrate who you are. The art that is created reflects this beautiful idea.”

The name “No Spectators” comes from a long-standing saying at Burning Man. Atkinson said, “You are encouraged to fully participate. It’s all about being there, being fully present, and not just observing. There are no outsiders. Everyone is part of the experience.”

Consistent with the Burning Man principle of gifting, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man will be on view to the public for free. General admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is also free. Support for the Cincinnati presentation of this exhibition is provided by the August A. Rendigs, Jr. Foundation.

About Burning Man Project

Burning Man Project, a nonprofit organization, produces the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, and works year-round to extend and facilitate the culture that has grown from the event into the larger world. Burning Man Project provides inspiration, connection, education, and grants to a creative ecosystem of builders, makers, artists, and community leaders. Its work spans six interconnected program areas: Art, Education, Civic Involvement, Culture, Philosophical Center, and Social Enterprise. An ever-growing global network supports and furthers these efforts in 44 U.S. states and 39 countries around the world. Visit for more information.


Disclaimer:  Press release information came from the Cincinnati Art Museum website.  Pictures are all my own, but do not give this exhibit justice so see it for yourself soon!