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No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

Oct 12, 2019 - Feb 16, 2020

Oakland Museum of California

Discover the cutting-edge artwork, sculpture, and interactive installations from Burning Man, one of the most widely-celebrated and influential cultural events, at Oakland Museum of CaliforniaNo Spectators: The Art of Burning Man will illuminate the event's origins, and its culture of experimentation, collaboration, and creativity, which draws over 70,000 people to Nevada's Black Rock Desert each year. Participants create and build Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis where experimental art installations—some ritually burned to the ground—are the centerpiece for innovators, makers, and a burgeoning artistic community. The exhibition will illuminate the values of Burning Man through its guiding Ten Principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy.

The immersive and multi-sensory experience will extend beyond the gallery walls into the Museum’s public spaces—including an OMCA-commissioned 40-foot-tall outdoor temple by internationally-acclaimed sculptor David Best. No Spectators will also feature commissioned works, jewelry, gifts, costumes, "mutant" vehicles, sculptures, photography, ephemera, paintings, artifacts, and other items.

The companion exhibition within the gallery, City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, organized by the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, will trace Burning Man's origins from its countercultural roots in the San Francisco Bay Area to the world-famous desert gathering it is today. 

Many of the featured artworks will invite visitor interaction and touch--a unique element of the exhibition experience.

Special Events

  • Saturday, November 9 and Sunday, November 10: Various maker studios in Oakland will open their doors for Beyond Burning Man: Bay Area Open Studios where visitors can go behind the scenes and discover local sites where Burning Man art is created. 
  • Sunday, November 17: OMCA will host free Playa Pop-Up, including campus-wide activities led by Burning Man volunteers and artists that encourage visitor engagement, such as the creation of whimsical miniatures, explorations in playa-wear worn at Burning Man, and other workshops where visitors can experiment with dance, music, and radical self-expression.
  • December 5: Experience No Spectators After Dark from 6-10 pm, including special late-night access to the exhibition, artist activations with special appearances by Burning Man artists, and light bites and drinks inside the gallery.
  • Friday, November 8: A special Burning Man Block Party will take over OMCA's popular Friday Nights at OMCA, closing down the surrounding 10th and Oak Streets with interactive art cars from the Playa, fire dancing and flame demonstrations by The Crucible, a mass of marching bands and music, Off the Grid food trucks, and more, expanding across OMCA's gardens and entire campus.
  • Saturday, December 7: Hear from artists and founders of Burning Man as part of OMCA's In Conversation speaker series, including a discussion about the art and creativity of Burning Man and what it takes to build a city in the dust.
  • Saturday, January 11: A powerful conversation centered around the Burning Man principle of Radical Inclusion will feature Roberto Bedoya of the City of Oakland, Rachel McCrafty of Ace Monster Toys Makerspace, and others, discussing equity and inclusion for artists and creatives.

Top 5 Must Do Oakland Art Events during No Spectators

  • Oakland Art Murmur First Friday Art Walk – join visual arts lovers like you at over 30 venues and art spaces launching new exhibitions and events the first Friday of each month. Starting at 6pm and running until 10pm venues and art spaces open their doors for free. Start your art adventure using Oakland Art Murmur interactive digital map to find venues near you and search by the type of art that interests you.
  • Interactive Mural Map - Oakland is chock-full of public art murals. Find murals near you and find out about the artists who created them with the Interactive Mural Map.
  • Join Oakland Art Murmur on October 19th for a guided walking tour of the Jingletown neighborhood and stay to join a neighborhood celebration and unveiling of a public art mural. If you can’t make a guided tour, Self-guided tours of Jingletown, Chinatown and Temescal neighborhoods are available on the Oakland Art Murmur website. Find out more information about the guided and self-guided Neighborhood Walking Tours.
  • Oakland Originals ™ Speakers Series – on October 26th join us at The Crown, Royal Coffee as we have an intimate and interactive conversation with local artists. Find out more about the amazing diversity of the visual arts communities in Oakland. Details and tickets available at Oakland Art Murmur.
  • Slow Art Saturdays™ - Turn off technology, slow down and take a deep, guided look at visual art in various galleries and venues throughout Oakland. Dates, times and locations can be found on the Oakland Art Murmur website.

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