No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

Summer Bucket List alert!  The Renwick’s newest exhibit, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, is something you should add to your “to-do” list this summer (or fall/winter).  The first floor is on display through September 16, 2018 and the second floor through January 21, 2019.  The pieces scattered about the surrounding neighborhood are on display through December 2018.

I’ll admit, I had never heard of the Burning Man event that takes place annually in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, so this was all new to me.  If you’re like me, then before you go, take a peek at the Burning Man website to learn a little more.  I particularly appreciate part of their mission, which is “Our intention is to generate society that connects each individual to his or her creative powers, to participation in community, to the larger realm of civic life, and to the even greater world of nature that exists beyond society.”

With this in mind, it was awe-inspiring to see the maker culture come alive within the Renwick Gallery.  Is this exhibit kid-friendly?  Yes, 100%.  Keep in mind, there are some things kids (and adults) should not touch, but there are also plenty of interactive pieces.

The pieces on display come in all shapes and sizes.  My favorite, Truth is Beauty (Marco Cochrane), came about with the vision “to de-objectify women and inspire men and women to take action to end violence against women, thus allowing both women and men to live fully and thrive.”  This metal sculpture that is lit from the inside by 3,000 RGB LED lights are worthy of a moment of reflection on a nearby bench.

Truth is Beauty

Truth is Beauty (Marco Cochrane)

Don’t miss Nova (Christopher Schardt), a room that houses beanbags on the ground where you can lay down and watch a star-shaped LED screen come alive with beautiful images of the stars and patterns, all while listening to relaxing classical music.  It’s a nice way to lose yourself in a calm, mesmerizing moment.

There are sculptures, metal-working pieces, costumes, and so much more to explore. See some of the photos below to get a small glimpse, but I recommend heading to the Renwick for yourself.  Expose your children to the wondrous world of art, it’s something you surely won’t regret!

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man  No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

Shrumen Lumen (FoldHaus Art Collective); Hybycozo (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu)

Additional Information

  • There are no tickets and admission is FREE!
  • I visited on a weekday morning and there was a decent crowd inside, but not too crowded to reflect and enjoy all of the art.   The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  I hear it is generally more crowded with longer lines on weekends and evenings.  And remember, this exhibit is here for a while, so take your time and go when you can enjoy this exhibit.
  • Strollers are allowed Monday-Thursday; but not on Friday-Sunday.  Plan appropriately.
  • Food and drink are not allowed in the building.
  • Photos are encouraged, so to keep the kiddos engaged, consider letting them behind the lens.


No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man  No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

Paper Arch (Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti); The Ten Principles

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man  No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

Temple (David Best)

Photos courtesy of Amy Miller.

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