For twelve years I have traveled to art shows around the country, setting up and exhibiting my work. I’m well adapted to the unpredictable routine, but I still have occasional anxiety dreams. In my dreams, I forget something, or my car won’t start, or no one comes to my opening. Showing my art at Burning Man made those dreams look astoundingly pedestrian.
I hope most of you have enjoyed amazing photos of the event. If not, start here or here and then Google away. It is so huge and so varied, that I find myself looking at whole albums full of things I never saw. Big things. With flames. It’s the kind of place where you CAN miss a giant boulder suspended in air, or a Billion Bunny March.
This is a look at exhibiting my little art piece on the big desert. (This story started with my previous post.)
You can click on an image to see it bigger, with comments, and scroll through the albums. Hit “escape” to get back to the main post.
Placement (AKA Booth Assignment)
I brought what’s called “walk-in art”, which means I had not registered ahead of time, or been assigned a location. So I had to work that out at The Artery, on site. They were great. Welcoming, fun, and pro. Always a winning hand.
The folks at the Artery place, catalog, and manage the art on site.
The art questionnaire includes questions about whether or not your art is on fire.
Every piece of art is placed with consideration for its surroundings, and the viewer experience.
A treasure map. Some of these dots are huge installations. Some are tiny ideas.
Out finding my spot, 1:15 and 3600′.
Driving the marker. Figuring, “yeah, I’ll be able to find this again….”
I had my placement, and was ready to set up! But you can’t just drive a car out into the middle of the Playa, because that would break the visual mood. Luckily, my camp had a resident art-car, approved by the DMV (Department of Mutant Vehicles). She had to be coaxed into waking up, but it was worth it to be able to say “I was going to leave at 11, but my dragon wouldn’t start…”
My favorite dragon, the beauteous Peligrosa.
The dragon tamer at the helm.
Chewie dressed for work!
Ohhhhh, I’m so glad we had sharp eyes out to find that marker!
Sometimes it takes a little fairy dust. (See the little pink tassel at her feet?)
Time to see if this actually works!
Laying out the footprint.
Stable enough? Flexible enough? I’m only one windstorm away from finding out!
There’s not a whole lot of lounging around and making slow decisions. It’s hot, and the dragon might fly off at any moment.
Folks start to roll in while we’re setting up. It’s a very appreciative audience!
A little cloud cover to ease our last tweaks.
Joe (the green haired dragon driver) is setting up lights so that stray cyclists won’t hit the art in the middle of the night. Because that’s a real danger.
So now the big opening. Dozens of folks perched on an art car, cruising the Playa on an art tour…
Couldn’t have done it without Chewie, Joe and Stefi, and, of course, Peligrosa.
Wow. It worked!!! They’re even rotating in the wind!
And now, to take shelter from the sun, and leave the art to fend for itself.
And there it goes…… wayyyyyyyyy off in the distance.
Time for a refreshing beverage! Courtesy of the kindness of Distrikt.
There are times when a cold beer is a true marvel.
It worked! I set up on Wednesday morning, and the piece held up until I took it down on Sunday. It was a fantastic experience. Every time I went out to check on it, or clean it, I had wonderful conversations with gracious, creative, appreciative, generous and quirky people. I had a couple of teary moments and a lot of great laughs. It was illuminating and fulfilling to step away from any connection to commerce, and just focus on what I really love, which is making a connection to people.
They started out so tidy…
But the dust is ruthless.
So the next morning’s chore was cleaning with vinegar. A process that took a few tries to perfect. Thanks Tureno!
A little dust isn’t going to stop anyone with Cowboy Spirit!
Nothing like desert light for drama.
It’s easy to forget that the Playa is rimmed with mountains.
A lovely early morning visitor.
More denizens of the dawn art crawl.
Just when I was about to head back to camp and get out of the dust, I caught sight of this couple at my piece. They take pictures at art all around the city. They were glorious, and made my day.
And then it was done, and time to dismantle and leave no trace. Some of my wonderful campmates came out to help me break down. In a final strange twist, the one thing I was unable to do was to burn the work! I dismantled all of the plastics and metals, but the Community Burn Garden wouldn’t take the cardboard in the mats! So the prints are back home after all. Trying to find a date to burn them at Baker Beach, where this all began!
Taking it down!
Prepping for the non-burn…
This little ladder could tell stories.
Thanks to everyone who pitched in! It was so much fun to work with so many people and create something together. It helped my hands and filled my heart! Big dusty hugs all around!