It’s time again for our annual reminder that the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert is, at bottom, a celebration of art. As such, it is a reminder of the growing importance of art in the global economy.
Burning Man’s ethos of radical self-sufficiency translates into a ban on commerce. That leads many of the artists who participate to donate their art. “With everyone urged to contribute something, many artists have been working on their sculptures for months,” as the FT’s Tim Bradshaw reports from his “Lunch with the FT” with Larry Harvey, one of the founders of Burning Man:
Most Burners are fond of recalling tall tales of fake-fur-clad excess, elaborately customised “art cars” and monster sound systems. This year’s art installations include a 50-ft “space whale”, the head and hands of a giant man appearing to rise from the sand, and part of a converted Boeing 747 that its new owners say is now a “mover of dreams”. Harvey likes to survey the art — and the rest of his creation — from a high platform close to the centre of the event at First Camp, the founders’ HQ. But instead of recounting hedonistic tales, he is much more eager to talk about organisational details, such as Black Rock City’s circular layout, “sort of like a neolithic temple”.