Top Ten Burning Man Art Myths
There are some well-worn rumors and myths about making art for Burning Man. Here they are, followed by the actual facts.
Myth 1: Only art that is related to the annual Art Theme is shown on the playa.
All art is welcome on the playa.
Myth 2: Art based on the Art Theme gets good placement. Non-theme art gets shunted and placed on "bad" real estate out by the trash fence.
An area alongside the 3:00, 6:00, 9:00 and 12:00 promenade walkways is usually reserved for theme-based art. Theme camps located along our city's Esplanade are allowed to install art on the open playa within a 100’ zone immediately in front of their camps. All other areas are available for the installation of non-theme art. This represents 95% of the open playa.
Myth 3: Burning Man owns all the art on the playa.
Burning Man in fact does not own any of the art, even art that has been awarded an art grant. All art is the property of the artist.
Myth 4: If you don't register your art online, you can't install it.
You may bring unregistered art , but you must come to the ARTery (located on the Esplanade, between the Key Hole and 6:30) to register your project before you set it up. We will work with you to place your art where you'd like it to be located.
Myth 5: It's too hard to register art online.
It really isn't very hard to register your art. Just read our art guidelines, and fill out our online questionnaire. The online form takes about 15 minutes -- 30 minutes, at most -- to complete. We'll then contact you and assist you with logistics and anything else you need. And if you miss the submission deadline, you may register your work on playa by coming to the ARTery.
Myth 6: Registering art and assigning it a location is officious and over-controlling.
Here are a few reasons why we register and place art:
- Placing art helps to avoid disputes and confrontations on the playa. Artists often have special requirements; they may want (or need) a dark space, a quiet space, or an unimpeded view of their work. The ARTery team is aware of all of these issues for artists you might place your artwork near.
- Knowing who has made a work and where it is located helps our art documentation team to locate your project and photograph it. This documentation may appear on our website, it is filed in our archive and, whenever possible, accurately credits each artist (so it helps if we know who you are). This documentation is available to all artists.
- If you plan to burn your art, registering it allows us to put it on a burn list that is submitted to the authorities (this is required by our landlords, the Bureau of Land Management). This makes it official in their eyes. If it is on the list, you probably won't see a flashing red light when you burn it. This makes everybody happy. And it means you won’t incur a fine of around $1000 for burning your art.
- • Checking in with the ARTery and registering your art on the playa allows us to locate it on a map displayed at the ARTery. This could help your friends to find your work. It also helps participants learn more about your art. They can go online, read descriptions, and maybe even reach out to the artist to let them know what impact their art had for them.
- Registering your art in advance of the event allows us to locate your work on a map that is given to every participant.
Myth 7: You must pledge your first-born in exchange for a decent location.
No, simply tell us where you want your art to be located. While we love babies, we have our own. :-)
Myth 8: There are way too many fire safety rules.
Our fire and safety guidelines are based on requirements placed on us by the BLM and the state of Nevada. They are straightforward and relate to common sense concerns. The mission of our Art Department is to assist participants in bringing art to the playa and to help you create fire art safely in a chaotic public environment. See our creating dangerous art page for more information.
Myth 9: The art grant process is a mystery and you can't figure out how to apply.
Art grant guidelines and instructions on how to apply can be found here.
Myth 10: Only theme art and interactive art gets funded.
Art not related to the annual theme and art that isn't interactive does receive grant funding. However, when considering which art to fund we do assign extra points to work that fits these two categories.