The 70,000 revelers who have set up camp in the Nevada desert for the 2017 edition of Burning Man did not come empty-handed. Artists and other creatives have constructed hundreds of monumental sculptures and other artworks in Black Rock City for the weeklong festival, which ends on September 4.
This year, Burning Man asked artists to create work inspired by the theme “Radical Ritual.” The resulting 320 registered pieces—some of which are huge light and fire installations—are formidable.
The ambitious projects include a Temple of Gravity by Zachary Coffin, which precariously suspends huge stones from five thin steel arms, and Múcaro, a 30-foot-tall wooden owl by an artist called El Nino.
El Nino, Múcaro at Burning Man. Courtesy of jtportland via Instagram.
Other highlights: a massive marionette by Miguel Ángel Martín Bordera, a towering flamingo-shaped observatory that provides an impressive view of the gathering’s sprawling desert encampment, and recurring favorite The Monaco, an RV that has been converted into a massive ship engineered to run on wind power. Steven Brummond, Marisha Farnsworth and Mark Sinclair built this year’s temple.
The Burning Man statue at the 2017 gathering, enclosed for the first time. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal/John Curley.
The annual gathering, which began in 1986, centers around the ceremonial conflagration of a towering wooden effigy. This year, according to the Burning Man Journal, event organizers have “heard some criticism” due to the fact “that the Man is enclosed in a structure for the first time.”
If you are fortunate enough to be possessed of spare cash, an in on tickets, a crew of like-minded hippies, and a penchant for drug-induced euphoria, well, welcome to Burning Man—a week-long desert bacchanalia that combines the post-apocalyptic hellscape and creative costuming of Mad Max with the cultish idolatry of The Wicker Man (albeit with far more positive vibes).
From August 27 to September 4, approximately 70,000 people will descend upon Black Rock Desert in Nevada for this annual rich-hippie carnival, where people young and old flock to “find themselves” and snap Instagrams of their end-of-the-world outfits on the Seven Mile Playa. Founded in 1986 by Larry Harvey and friends—and not discovered by Dr. Dre, thank you very much—it bills itself as a celebration of “artistic self-expression” and “radical” inclusion. And over the years, it’s grown from a miniature fete to a full-blown extravaganza replete with art installations, burning effigies, and DJs galore. Now, celebs like Paris Hilton, Katy Perry and Cara Delevingne flaunt their best designer “burner” duds on “The Playa” (while retiring to luxurious RVs), alongside decidedly less attractive tech entrepreneurs—and even conservative blowhard Grover Norquist.
This year’s theme is “Radical Ritual,” whatever the hell that means. Here are some of this year’s weirdest burners doing their thing.
PENIS POUCH MAN
Things can get pretty sandy out there in the desert, so a tight, shimmering penis pouch like the one below can prevent one from getting any sand in or around the nether regions. Silly chest art entirely optional.
Think you love your smartphone? Fuck you. I have a smartphone helmet. Now, can one of you please use one of these to call my mom and tell her to pick me up?
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She may have voted for Donald Trump and said she doesn't believe any of the dozen or so women who've accused him of sexual assault, but apparently the hotel heiress still thinks she's welcome at this progressive hippie gathering. Homegirl will never miss a good Instagram opportunity.
Sure, his Ivanka Trump-approved company may have recently gone under, but Juicero founder Doug Evans is taking in the news by... dancing around in the desert in a rainbow tutu and suspenders. Do what you gotta do, man.
Don't mess with this #Squad!
ORANGE OVERALLS MAN
Orange Overalls Man has searched far and wide and finally found his fellow orange people. He raises his arms in celebration, much as he did the first time he did sex.
Don't talk to me about the war.
You always said I'd never amount to anything, well, take that, Dad!
Hey you guyyyyys!
[Cue Europe's "The Final Countdown"]
COWBOY MAN AND BUNNY GIRL
OK, these two are pretty hot. Burn away.
There is dust deep inside of my asshole.
TFW you've watched Game of Thrones high too many times and have convinced yourself you can see things by staring into the flames.