The art at Burning Man is what pulls me back to the event year after year. Its unending creativity, sense of humor, quality and sheer quantity capture my imagination. I can’t get enough. My next three blogs will focus on what I consider Black Rock City’s most powerful art form: sculpture. I have already done posts on Medusa and R-Evolution. Today I will feature a 168-foot flaming serpent, a unique and moving sculpture from the Ukraine, a massive fish monster that emerges from the sand, a series of strange bronze sculptures with an out-of-world beauty, and a huge storybook shoe.
The first time I met Serpent Mother coiled around her egg was in 2006. To say she caught my attention is an understatement. I was delighted to see her back at Burning Man in 2015. Created by the Flaming Lotus Girls (and guys) out of the San Francisco Bay Area, the large-scale, fire-breathing snake is a classic example of the group’s work.
Alexander Milov from Odessa, Ukraine titles his sculpture of two people sitting back to back, Love. While communication between the two adults has broken down, their inner children are reaching out to each other, touching hands and hoping to reestablish contact. How often do we let out anger, or pride, or jealousy get in the way of our friendships and love?
Rebecca Anders from Oakland, California is responsible for creating the Illumacanth, a huge fish that rises out of the Playa and is obviously hungry. Walking into the monster’s mouth reminded me of Jonah and his whale. Too bad Rebecca didn’t give her fish jaws that snapped shut. But that probably would have been a heart attack waiting to happen.
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe— She had so many children she didn’t know what to do. I can never keep myself from adding “obviously.” Five Ton Crane, which is an interesting name for an art group, created this rather large boot of a home. Maybe they needed a giant crane to move the boot. I was really hoping to get inside, treasures were promised, but the doors were not open the two times I visited. Still, I was hardly disappointed.
I was intrigued by how well the two-ton bronze sculptures created by Mario Martinez in Berkeley, California fit into the Black Rock Desert landscape. Each of the molecule-like structures took three to four months to make. Designed on a 3-D printer, Martinez used the ancient lost wax method to create the sculptures. They were among my favorite pieces at Burning Man in 2015.