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.
42 thoughts on “A Shoe, a Serpent and a Fish— Plus… The Intriguing Sculptures of Burning Man”
Truly wonderful sculptures. Thanks so much for sharing the pics.
I always have a lot of fun putting up the Burning Man blogs, Peggy. –Curt
Milov’s sculpture is sublime. And the dragon spectacular.
Yes and yes. 🙂 –Curt
Unbelievable! Really I’m at a loss for words. How do these sculptures arrive? Imagine meeting that on the road!
A whole line of large trucks make deliveries, Sue. I have a photo coming up that shows the truck that carried the large dancing skeleton that I featured earlier. –Curt
Great! Looking forward to it!
Amazing. Thank you for this great post.
You are welcome, Sylvia. And thank you. –Curt
This series of photos that you are sharing on Burning Man are so spectacular that I am beginning to really consider that I MUST GO TO BURNING MAN.
I’ve known of this event for many a year and never considered going previously. So persuasive is your capture of the art and creativity gathered there.
The art is what makes Burning Man so special, at least for me. I believe it has become the greatest outdoor gallery in the world. –Curt
I totally agree with you. Appreciate and enjoy your photos so much.
Thanks. 🙂 –Curt
Love this post… Great place to visit. I want to go…
Glad you enjoyed the sculptures, Lumar. There are a lot more coming. –Curt
Another stylish travelogue, thanks!
Glad you are enjoying them Dave. Burning Man provides lots of blog material. –Curt
Have to agree with you about the molluscs – gorgeous pieces.
Indeed. I was really captured by them… even more when I went back and looked at my photos. –Curt
Incredible pictures and very fun to read. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Thank you, Mithai. I am glad you are enjoying the Burning Man series.
I definitely am 🙂
All the sculptures reflect a high level of creativity. I liked Love the most… for it’s meaning.
It was special Timi. I think everyone at Burning Man could relate to it. –Curt
The molecules rock! They’re my very favorite, and for some reason, maybe my favorite of any sculptures I’ve seen from Burning Man. Of course, I see there’s another post to come, so perhaps I shouldn’t judge so quickly.
Never know what’s coming next, Linda. But the molecules are among my all time favorites from Burning Man. And that is saying a lot. –Curt
These really are the aspects of Burning Man that fill me with most delight too. The dragon/serpent and the stranded illumacanth appeal to the wild creative and fun part of my brain and the Milov and Martinez sculptures have both aesthetic and intellectual appeal so satisfy the brain all round. Thanks.
Interesting observation, Hilary. I always look forward to your input on sculptures. Can you imagine your work out on the Playa? –Curt
Wow–amazing images! Thanks for continuing to share your Burning Man visuals! I can see why you go back every year.
My pleasure. It’s addictive, for sure. 🙂 –Curt
The molecules are captivating. At once alien and naturally suited to that environment. Your photos of them are stunning.
The second photo of the boot is also stunning. Love how you presented that one. Do the creators get to live inside their artwork while there, or are there rules about staying in a designated living area? Because I would like to live in the shoe. Or, in the cat car…
The sculpture Love brought tears to my eyes. It is powerful indeed.
I don’t know if people lived in the shoe, Crystal, but people do live in the art on occasion… or at least sleep in it. Many of the living quarters in Black Rock City are art in themselves. Weren’t the molecules interesting? –Curt
Interesting and beautiful…and mathematical I think. They make me think of geometry and concepts like the Fibonacci sequence and fractals.
Whoa, you lost me on the Fibonacci sequences, Crystal. 🙂 –Curt
heh heh. Ok, so I get a little geeky when I let my guard down. It’s the mathematical expression that describes a seashell. The spiral that gets bigger – so beautiful.
Here again, I’m blown away. These mammoth sculptures are not only artsy; they’re downright phenomenal. Loved your photo of the shoe with the blue sky background. And, I, too, am smitten by the wire figures with inner children communicating. Thanks for sharing.
As always, my pleasure. Glad you have enjoyed the series. –Curt
The photo of the soleful shoe with the dramatic sky was superific, Curt. I still don’t know how these art pieces are transported there… And a question: where’s the pictures of Peggy??? 🙂
Part of the transportation is on big trucks, Koji. Most are taken apart, containerized, brought here, and then put back together. As for my favorite model, she had just returned from England on a trip with her sister. –Curt
BTW, the melding of the names coelacanth and the deep sea anglerfish was very apropos!