Burning Man’s Cry for Help (NYT 3/30/12)
More than 10,000 tickets still remain for Burning Man, which culminates over Labor Day weekend. They were originally allotted for a public sale starting Mar. 28. Now, however, they will go only to handpicked attendees who “already have a relationship and contact points within the organization” of Burning Man.
In other words, Burning Man is building its own kind of caste system, choosing insiders and outsiders, curating the community’s most valuable members. Why does this matter?
We live in tremendously creative times. Thanks to the Internet, the tools to make and share art have proliferated. Offline, however, we’re still largely stuck in a culture where some people make art and other people consume it. There’s a dividing line between celebrities and fans, performers and spectators. How often do people get to co-create culture in the physical world?
For more than two decades, Burning Man has been the antithesis of the art establishment, avoiding the social stratifications created by fame and pedigree, embracing a credo of egalitarianism and “radical inclusion.” If you wanted to show your art there — even if your art was stale Twinkies stacked to look like Stonehenge, which I saw my first year — no curator would turn you away. Burning Man is the only American event of its scale that actively attempts a democratic system for face-to-face artistic exchange.
(i kind of don’t get the headline? where is the cry for help?)
(by the way, yes, we have tickets.)Filed in art, burning man | Comments (4)