David Best to Build Temple at Patricia’s Green

The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) and Burning Man are pleased to announce the creation of The Temple at Patricia’s Green by renowned artist David Best, to be installed in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Originally proposed by SFAC, and produced in close collaboration with the Burning Man nonprofit, the new temple will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Best’s Hayes Valley Temple, exhibited at the same location — on Octavia Street at Linden Street — in 2005.

Please join SFAC, Burning Man, and the Hayes Valley community in celebrating this wonderful work of public art at its Opening Reception, June 26, 2015, 11:00 a.m., at Patricia’s Green in San Francisco, California. The artist and special guest speakers will be present.

Burning Man is committed to creating experiences that inspire joy, lift the human spirit, address social problems, and foster a sense of culture, community, and personal engagement.

David Best's recent Temple in Derry-Londonderry, Ireland, 2015 (Photo by Josh Lease)
David Best’s recent Temple in Derry-Londonderry, Ireland, 2015 (Photo by Josh Lease)

“Burning Man is thrilled to be working with David Best and the Arts Commission to make this project possible,” says Burning Man’s Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives Tomas McCabe. “In our ongoing effort to make Burning Man culture accessible to everyone, we’re excited that Hayes Valley and the entire City of San Francisco will once again have an opportunity to co-create a powerful, interactive community art experience.”

The project is made possible with development impact fees from Hayes Valley private developments, which were set aside specifically for artwork in Patricia’s Green, and with additional support from San Francisco Grants for the Arts; the San Francisco Community Challenge Grant / Market Octavia Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plans Grant Program; and Burning Man.


The Temple of Grace in Black Rock City by David Best, 2014 (Photo by Scott London)
The Temple of Grace in Black Rock City by David Best, 2014 (Photo by Scott London)

In 2005, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Arts Commission encouraged the Black Rock Arts Foundation (now a subsidiary of Burning Man) to collaborate with the San Francisco’s Hayes Valley community and David Best to create an interactive “Temple.” The Hayes Valley Temple quickly became a cherished focal point for the community, providing a beautiful space that inspired connection, dialog and civic pride. It demonstrated how artists, city officials and community members can collaborate to create meaningful work specific to the needs of their community, and became the model for Burning Man’s Civic Arts Program.

“David Best’s temple was universally loved and continues to be among the top most memorable temporary art installations the city has ever presented. It just made sense to bring it back for the 10th anniversary of Patricia’s Green,” says Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny.

About the Artist

In addition to his collage, painting, ceramic and mixed media sculptural works (shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, and diRosa,) David Best is known for his massive, exquisitely decorative temples built and burned at the annual Burning Man event in the Nevada desert.

Artist David Best, 2014 (Photo credit unknown)
Artist David Best, 2014 (Photo credit unknown)

Best’s temples fill a critical societal need, providing the rare opportunity to publicly acknowledge grief and hope concurrently. The structures become a collective tribute to the shared human experiences of contemplation, reflection, sorrow, affection and hope. Most recently, Best collaborated with UK-based charity Artichoke and local community members to create a temple in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

About the Artwork

The Temple at Patricia’s Green will honor the loss of community members and celebrate the community’s dreams and aspirations for the future.

The new temple will be made of wood. On par with his other large-scale works, it is expected to be approximately 15 feet in width and length and approximately 37 feet in height (pending final plans). Best’s temples often feature alcoves and niches conducive to private reflection. Community members are welcome to write the names of, or messages to, lost loved ones, and/or their aspirations and thoughts on the temple’s walls. As people contribute to the piece, the space becomes a communal expression of very personal experiences, creating a new sense of affinity among participating community members.

As David Best says, “When we finish the temple and turn it over to the community, it is an empty building. They bring their mothers, they bring their brothers, they bring their best friends, their weddings and their celebrations to it. And then it becomes something. It has no life until the community brings that life to it.”

With the creation of The Temple at Patricia’s Green, Best will take the concept of community collaboration even further. He proposes an installation period of 10 days, from June 13 to June 21. Spanning two weekends, this will create time for both scheduled and informal opportunities to interact with the public. The new temple will be on display for at least one year.

“Crossroads of Curiosity” Exhibition at the British Library

David Normal’s lightbox murals, Crossroads of Curiosity (2014 Black Rock City Honoraria, and 2015 Global Arts Grantee), that were central to the “Souk” in the 2014 Man base, are traveling to London for a 5-month exhibition. The murals, which were based on 19th century images uploaded onto Flickr Commons (via The British Library), will be displayed in the Piazza of The British Library starting on June 20. Don’t miss the opening of the exhibit!

"Crossroads of Curiosity" by David Normal, 2015  Global Arts Grantee (Image courtesy of artist)
“Crossroads of Curiosity” by David Normal, 2015 Global Arts Grantee (Image courtesy of artist)

What: Crossroads of Curiosity: The British Library meets Burning Man
When: June 20, 2015, 7pm – 11pm
Where: Conference Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
Cost: £10.00 – £15.00
Tickets: See event page to purchase

The evening starts in the auditorium with talks by artist David Normal; Larry Harvey, founder of Burning Man; and Viktor Wynd of the Last Tuesday Society and the Museum of Curiosity. An outdoor launch party will follow, featuring the illumination of the installation, as well as performances, readings, sounds, visuals, and a bar. The brilliant scratch-and-mix DJ Yoda will provide the soundtrack for the evening.

Learn more about the collection of images that inspired this project.

How to Run a Naked Ultramarathon

by Timjim

I asked this guy to run through the chute nude, another photographer from a newspaper caught it too and a similar image ran that weekend in the SF Chronicle... in B/W though.

I asked this guy to run through the chute nude, another photographer from a newspaper caught it too and a similar image ran that weekend in the SF Chronicle... in B/W though.

As I bent forward into downward dog, hands touching chalky playa, muscles screaming for a release from their agony, and sun, oh hot desert sun, baking my naked-for-the-last-four-miles body, I wondered how I had wound up here. Here being a 50K ultra marathon in the buff, here being Black Rock City, the people still up at five-thirty in the morning to slap us five, cheer us on, create a human tunnel and scream war cries in the middle of a dry lakebed… but that was hours ago. That was lap one when I was fully clothed and my legs were fresh and the dawn was breaking and this is lap four and the sun is merciless and even the hardest of the partiers have retreated home for their vampiric day-naps. Now it is just the runners, the guy with the speaker medallion blasting 80’s rock warble guitar and the guy in the kilt who gave me the idea run one song walk one song run one song… and the guy who is even more naked than I am with his bare feet and bare body and only the water of his sweat. And occasionally there is a lone bicyclist or a veteran Burner MOOPing the playa and their shouts of “keep going” and “you guys are incredible” sound more like “better you than me” with every step. (more…)

Why Radical Inclusion should make us uncomfortable

I’ve always taken Radical Inclusion very personally because I’m convinced that, if it weren’t for Radical Inclusion, I never would have been let into Burning Man.  You didn’t know me back then:  somebody would have said “I don’t know about this guy.  Is he reaaaaally one of us?”  Instead they said “Welcome Home.”

Done right, Radical Inclusion is the engine that keeps our creative energies going year after year – and is frequently uncomfortable.  If it’s not at least a little uncomfortable from time to time, you’re probably just playing with the people you’d hang out with outside of Burning Man, and what good is that?

An open letter to businesses who want to offer luxury trips to Burning Man

Starport by Carey Thompson, 2012 (Photo by Scott Williams)
Starport by Carey Thompson, 2012 (Photo by Scott Williams)

Dear Entrepreneurs:

We’ve never met – at least I don’t think – and so I don’t know whether you’re true believing Burners who are just trying to make a buck sharing something you love without thinking it through or opportunists trying to strip-mine our culture and sell the raw materials to the highest bidder.  Could go either way, and I prefer not to think the worst about people, no matter how often it’s justified.

And hey, let he who is without sin cast the first stone, right?  I think pretty much everyone who has been inspired by Burning Man has wondered “How can I make THIS what I do in the world?  Can I make Burning Man economically productive for me?”

It’s a completely reasonable question.  Why wouldn’t you think it?  Decommodification is a principle, but paying rent is a necessity.  The question of how to make Burning Man a sustainable part of one’s life is one that Burners around the world are grappling with, experimenting with different models, and I think they’re at the vanguard of Burning Man’s next big step.

But some approaches … most particularly selling Burning Man merchandise … aren’t going to work. And most of the schemes I’ve seen to offer “Burning Man Experiences” aren’t going to work either.

But not so much because of the money thing.

I want to explain why, not so that I can yell at you for trying, but because maybe if we get on the same page about what the problem here is, you can come up with an approach that will work.  So the dynamicism and energy you’re obviously bringing to this effort – starting a business is challenging – can be harnessed in service of the community you’re trying to introduce people to.  And so that those people can be better introduced to our community.

Because right now there’s a serious problem with what it looks like you’re trying to do, and it’s not actually decommodification.  Well, maybe that too, but there’s a much bigger, much more serious, problem here.  That’s the one I want to talk about. (more…)

A Family Affair

by Faciliti

burningman2005_ch_059.jpgFrom the very beginning, I had friends who went to Burning Man. They always said “Sarah, you and Max have got to go! These are Your People!” But what with kids in school and vacations that had to be scheduled a year in advance, it wasn’t until 2000 that we managed it. It turned out to be every bit as much Home for us as our friends had thought it would be. That first year we biked around in awe at the abundant smorgasbord of creativity served up by people unafraid to explore and be themselves — we knew we’d be back every year to share in the adventure!

The next year, our youngest, 13 at the time, wanted to go too. An old soul, I wasn’t worried about what he might see or experience — he was always wise beyond his years — but I wasn’t up for being “Mom” at Burning Man. So I got a ticket for his tutor and she was his chaperone for the week. Running into the boy in camp I might say, “If your mother were here, she’d remind you to put on more sunscreen and make sure your water bottle is full before you head out.” He’s been a Burner ever since. The year after that, the boy’s best friend wanted to go, but his parents didn’t want him to go without them, so we all camped together along with their friends Boyscout and his wife. The year after that, our older son, my sister and her husband, and Boyscout’s parents from Kentucky joined us, too.

So I guess I wasn’t that surprised when in 2004, during our pit-stop in Reno on our way to the Playa, I got a call from my parents saying, “Can you buy us tickets at the gate and we’ll meet you there?!” (more…)

Soundwave – Festival of Cutting Edge Art and Music Experiences

MEDIATE Art Group, producers of the Soundwave, a festival of cutting edge art and music experiences, is launching their 7th season with a fundraiser and launch party. (You may remember them from Illuminated Forest, a 2010 Black Rock Arts Foundation grantee project that transformed a San Francisco multimedia art space, The Lab, into an immersive, surrealistic environment.) We’re excited to see what MEDIATE Art Group has in store this time around. They are always pushing the borders of sound, projection, and performance in innovative ways to raise awareness of our relationship to our environment.

Mediate Art Group at Obscura Digital (Photo by Vlad Spears)

When: Friday, June 5th, 2015 from 6:30pm – 10pm
Where: Obscura Digital, 729 Tennessee Street, San Francisco, CA
Cost: $20
Tickets: See the event page

There will be live music performances by Christopher Willits of ENVELOP, Elia Vargas and Nathan Blaz, as well as projection mapping by Azael Ferrer Gordo, interactive art installations, DJs, drinks, dancing and more.

Visit MEDIATE Art Group’s website to learn more about their work.


Visit “Aurora” in Palo Alto through Summer 2015

Do you remember “Aurora” from Burning Man 2011? This beautiful LED sculpture of a willow tree, with opalescent bark and shiny copper leaves has been installed at Palo Alto City Hall since November 2013. This was a joint effort by the artist Charles Gadeken, Aurora Kids grassroots campaign, Kickstarter donors, Black Rock Arts Foundation, and the Palo Alto Public Art Commission (PAAC.) We have just learned that its placement has been extended by the PAAC for the summer of 2015!

Aurora in front of Palo Alto City Hall, 2013 (photo by Jason Chinn)
“Aurora the Willow” by Charles Gadeken in front of Palo Alto City Hall, 2013 (photo by Jason Chinn)

Now … how can you help?

  • Take advantage of beautiful weather nights to visit Aurora in Palo Alto this summer! Use our new interactive smartphone app, an innovation since Burning Man 2011, to control the color changes and patterns on the tree.
  • If you are a Palo Alto resident, tell the Palo Alto PAC how much you have enjoyed Aurora’s installation.
  • Donate to Aurora Palo Alto to help fund the de-installation process — cranes cost money!
  • Contact Charles Gadeken if you have an idea for an event showing, public art opportunity, or private collector opportunity for Aurora.

Many thanks from Charles Gadeken and the Aurora crew!