Burning Man 2012 Recap #3.

Art! Let’s look at some art. There was so, so very much of it. Art is incredibly subjective, so I will talk about it, but please remember it is only my point of view that I can see from. You may appreciate things differently. It’s okay. Please don’t yell at me.

My feelings on modern art have been shared on this blog before, and while I was talking to Snorth’s husband Speeb (who is so much more tolerant of modern art than I am) I said, all angry-like and crotchety and loud, “Art is fat nekkid ladies, landscapes, bowls of fruit or flowers, or Jesus. THAT’S IT.”* I think that pretty much sums up my feelings. If I cannot immediately tell it is art, then it’s not art. It’s a pile of crap with a name placard next to it. Moving on.

I made a concerted effort to see as much of the creative things one could see at Burning Man. It’s difficult because we were on foot the entire time and there are miles and miles and miles of roads to cover with a great deal of sculptural elements out on the open, but a lot of good stuff tucked away in the corners. The first morning I woke up (after sleeping in the car all crunched up like one of those Aztec mummies) stretched out, exited the vehicle and immediately started hissing at the sun. Conveniently, Cricket had brought an old bedsheet which I decided to wear the entire time I was at there. It was pathetic. I looked like I was rockin’ the lamest ghost costume ever, especially since the sheet had wee yellow flowers all over it. I take that back. I probably looked more like a homeless person who had lost her shopping cart filled with bags of cans and carpet scraps. It didn’t help that I was surrounded by thousands of pretty young things wearing no more than a g-string and a hat, and then there was me, The Moaning Potato in my sheet and my Chico’s pants and my orthopedic footwear. Whatever. Here’s a picture.

So Cricket and I headed down to Center Camp (look at map in previous post). Center Camp is BIG.

It’s a giant tent filled with all kinds of things. On one side is the coffee and ice sales, and then there are galleries scattered around, with old couches and pillows in between, and people are doing all kinds of stuff. Some are conducting little seminars on a small stage. Others are shmoozing. Some are napping. A bunch of girls were doing topless “airplanes” – you know, that thing you do with little kids, where you lie on your back with your feet straight up in the air and they pretend to fly. A man walked by playing “Careless Whisper” on a saxophone.

There was a great deal of art in there. Some of it was fantastic. Like Botticelli’s Venus made out of chicken wire.

The metal polygons were cool too.

And oh good, a painting of penises. I was worried I wouldn’t see phallus-related artwork on this trip. Thankfully there was no menses-related artwork that I could see.

Outside is something called The Gate. I thought it was a great structure and I was snapping photos from every angle. A guy came up to me and said, “Have you seen it at night? You should.” And sure enough, he was right. All I’m going to say for now is OMG RAINBOWS COLORS WHEEE.

Continuing on our art journey: after sharing a bag of Pirate Booty for breakfast (we only brought dry foods like chips and granola bars because there are no trashcans or sinks) Cricket and I headed out to the open area where the Man is.

There’s all this really cool artwork all over, and weaving in between all of them are artcars and people on bicycles. It’s utterly surreal. I tried to follow some semblance of a structure (“We’ll start over here and work our way around to here”) but we just ended up wandering around from interesting thing to interesting thing. We saw the giant Anubis:

And the geodesic onion domes:

And the egg:

And this tree:

And these two fantastic characters:

And the white spiral bone-lookin’ sculpture.

There was also the fish. Fish are a big thing at Burning Man. I saw a ton of fish represented. I think I might have actually seen four different anglerfish-themed artcars. A lot of sea creatures, a lot of reptiles/dragons, a lot of seafaring vessels.

But the piece I thought was the most striking was the lighthouse. The lighthouse was wooden, and spiral, and the driftwood at the bottom continued the spiral in the most beautiful manner. It also had Tiffany-style stained-glass windows. And it was sitting right in the middle of the desert. So stunning.

After investigating a hefty chunk of the art, we made our way to the Man himself.

It’s standing on top of a four-story building that you can go into. The building itself is neat to look at, but in the center was a really cool sculpture, I think it was called The Hive. It was built completely without nails or screws.

Here’s some video I took.


In addition to being a delicious break from the sun, you could walk up a level or two and see the playa from above. I got a great shot of a viking ship crossing the dust.

And then I looked down… at the group of naked men collecting together for the Critical Dicks March. Wow. You think you’re ready, but when you’re actually there and presented with thirty different guys, all different bodies, all different manpart-styles, it throws you a bit. I blurred out faces in case some of them are, like, lawyers back in the non-Playa world. Enjoy.

Go to Google and type in “Critical Dicks”, then hit “Images”. Visualize that coming towards you, all that jingly-jangly… It changes you.

Tomorrow we’ll delve into some of the night-time fabulosity. Many blurry pictures, but trust me, it’s worth it.


*That’s not really true. I like things other than that. But there’s a kernel of truth. I don’t go to MoMA or The Guggenheim or The Whitney, ever. I go to The Met and The Museum of Art and Design.

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