Burning Man is an annual extravaganza at the end of summer, which takes place in the middle of the Nevada desert. It's also a blissful occasion for artists to bring their inspirations into existence. As one of the most impressive but key parts of Burning Man, it’s the art installations that always catch everyone's eye. Take a look at the fantastic artworks that are vividly pictured here. Maybe you'll be inspired to go for a trip to the desert this summer!
1. Burning The Man
As the culmination of the week-long event, the symbolic burning of "the man" certainly draws every Burner's attention. The giant figure standing in the center of the Burning Man encampment finally gets ignited by a pyrotechnic performance as Burners cheer on the flames.
2. A Floating Jellyfish
The floating jellyfish was a 40-foot installation in 2017 called "Bloom" by Peter Hazel and a team of professional artists. When you get closer to the huge creature, you will find thousands of smaller jellyfish. It's also interactive and climbable, which challenged visitors' sense of perception to see that things aren't always what they seem to be.
3. Flying Thoughts
This installation of a human head was the "Flybrary", created by Christina Sporrong and displayed in 2019. There’s a library within the head, which was cut open at the top for a flock of illuminated birds to emerge. There were catwalks to climb and nooks to sit inside, which provided for a transformative and dreamy place for contemplation and freedom of thought.
4. Light And Shade
These illuminating things that look like little aliens at night constituted "Syzygy," an art installation by Taylor Dean Harrison in 2019. It's a viewer-responsive sculptural work that reveals a drawing made from light when the sun fades. The light and shadows projected on the ground move around as they are responding to the viewers' movement.
5. A Spinning Disc
"Paraluna" is a giant spinning disc of LEDs, which allows complementary animated patterns to display on it when music plays from speakers on the ground. Don't be fooled by its large size, it's actually quite flexible that can be raised, lowered, and tilted for dramatic effect.
6. Glowing Clouds
Created by Lindsay Glatz with Curious Form in 2019, “Cloud Swing” evokes a nostalgic feeling and simplicity of childhood. The cloud above emanates a steady white glow of light when the swings remain unoccupied, which makes it seem like they are floating in the darkness. When a passersby sits down, the clouds begin to change colors and glow. It showcases the feeling that joy and wonder will always push you forward, no matter what holds you back.
7. The Dancing Giant
This beautiful sculpture has an incredibly evocative name, "Truth of Beauty." Made by Marco Cochrane and featured dancer/singer Deja Solis, the figure stands on her toes with arms raised, expressing radical self-acceptance and love. The series of sculptures show women's power when they feel safe, which in turn helps their voice be heard and form a balance of power between men and women.
8. Bats Structure
In 2013, "Bat Country" was installed by Gwen Fisher and Paul Brown with 384 aluminum baseball bats and 130 softballs. The 21' tall 6-sided tetrahedron is designed for climbing and exploring. It also appears differently from every point of view.
9. A Shark Mobile
For one of the Burning Man highlights, decorating vehicles to construct mobile works of art, the Shark Mobile was made for the event in 2012. Burners climbed into the gut of this giant creature and looked through its razor-sharp teeth to see where they were heading. Driving a shark on the Playa, how cool is that!
10. The Flaming Octopus
First appearing in 2011, this flaming octopus was one of the most unique vehicles ever to have cruised the Playa. It's a combination of art and technology that is based on a 1973 Ford truck with the addition of mechanical, flaming tentacles. The monster artwork consumes 200 gallons of propane per night, and here it is at the 2012 event after being brought back as a result of the Humboldt County creators’ donations!
11. The Metal Flowers
Created by Kevin Clark and Reared In Steel, the "Flower Tower" is a 70-foot high metal structure that's ornately decorated with thousands of painted metal flowers with some of them blowing fire. It looks incredibly delicate when it's lit at night.
12. The Tunnel Of Lights
The "Sonic Runway" is a 1,000 ft corridor of lights, which was installed in 2016 for the event. It visualized the speed of sound and displayed different patterns of lights when triggered by music, which encouraged Burners - especially those with sound art cars - to play music and ride until the end.
13. The Inner Child
“Love” was a sculpture made by Ukraine artist Alexandr Milov for the event in 2015. It demonstrated the expression of outer and inner human nature, and a conflict between a man and a woman at the same time. As the day gets darker, the inner child of the figure would start to glow, which symbolized the purity and sincerity that brings people together.
14. The Lego Truck
Another amazing art car design is the "Billy the Lego Truck." Come on, how adorable is that! You would probably be more surprised by how beautiful it blinks lights at night rather than how many lego blocks it used. There's no doubt that it is a really fun way to drive around the Playa.
15. Toward Heaven
Just like its name "Stairway to Heaven," the structure by the French CORE project in 2013 built a vertical adventure towards unknown places. It was also their first attempt to bring some French flair to the Playa. It did an excellent job of bringing new people together and creating new encounters on this exploratory experience.
16. Man's Raw Power On Earth
The "Big Rig Jig," designed by Mike Ross in 2007, represents the manifestation of the relationship between humankind and nature. It demonstrated exactly what we're doing, cutting up pieces of the oil industry and thrusting them into the air. It created a visual metaphor for non-sustainability as well as a contemplation of our ability to recognize and change these destructive actions.
17. The Dancing Beauty
As another sculpture of Marco Cochrane's series, "Bliss Dance" was just as wonderful as "Truth of beauty." It's a breathtaking modern sculpture made from steel and displayed in 2010, which celebrated humanity and feminine beauty, power when women feel safe and true to themselves.
18. The Reflection Of Space
The installation, "ORB," was inspired by NASA's Project Echo. It's an inflatable structure floating above the Playa with its reflective skin mirroring the full layout of the encampment on the ground. The surreal and even alien design made for better immersion for the Burners.
19. In The Lenses
"Camera Lucida" was made by Bill Evans in 2018 for Burning Man. It was a camera-like sculpture, which enabled twilight and night photos of people using warm light from the fire. The design added theatricality to the Playa portraiture and was named after a 19th century invention that pushed photography forward.
20. A Spinning Wheel
The gigantic spinning wheel was called "Charon," and was an installation by Peter Hudson in 2017. It had human skeletons mounted on the inner edge and required at least 12 people working together to achieve its full power. When participants joined the interaction, the movement of the wheel would trigger the skeleton's animation, which told the story of Charon.