“Look daaahling, a sparkle pony!” Burning Man in Town and Country

[Update 5/16/12 – this post has struck a nerve and gone viral. It seems it was sponsored by Krug, and they left a big mess behind after the party. More coverage here]

Following on from yesterday’s exploration of Art Patronage and the Class Divide, thanks to Burner KP for pointing out this story that came out after last year’s Burn. It seems like Town and Country magazine flew in on a private jet, went straight to their pre-stocked RVs, and sipped Krug like it was just another day at the races.


Perhaps Martha Stewart will be cooking on TV live from the Playa next. With all the appropriate permits from the Nevada Health Department of course.
It’s easy to see why people vote against plug-n-play camping, after reading this. Turn your nose up, “my god! No rich people. What assholes! They’re not Burners! Eating steaks and drinking champagne at Burning Man! Ban them! Burn them!”  But don’t knock it till you’ve tried it – that would be ignorant, not to mention jealous. Krug Grand Cuvee is one of the most delicious champagnes in the world, you can drink it all day and feel great the next day. The Cessna Citation X shown in the photo is the world’s fastest private jet, it flies just under the speed of sound at 50,000 feet. When I flew in one once from Lake Tahoe to Cabo San Lucas with 5 friends, we all thought it was one of the best experiences of our lives. I have friends who have thrown birthday parties or weddings at Burning Man before. It’s a tricky problem when your birthday happens during Burning Man, it means if you want to go then a lot of your friends can’t celebrate your birthday with you. Throwing a big bash on the Playa will entice more friends to come to the Burn with you. So what if it was catered, and they poured champagne? Wouldn’t you like to throw a party on the Playa and bring 100 of your friends from all around the world to enjoy Burning Man with you, if you had the opportunity?

 What if the situation went down like this:
  • they flew in and out on a private plane, reducing traffic on the roads
  • they brought DJs they’d booked to play for tens of thousands at a main stage they funded
  • they brought videographers who made Dr Seuss YouTubes
  • they got picked up at the airport in one of the art cars they funded
  • it brought them to their pre-stocked RVs which had been set up by professionals so that they were in the right area and wouldn’t offend any neighbors, or look like an imposing “RV Fortress Camp”
  • the RVs were in a camp with a free bar pouring cocktails for any and all who swing by
  • they fully participated in the party, gifted like crazy, travelled around and experienced other camps and met Burners and got their butt crack full of Playa dust?
Would that make them a Burner?
Or is it still, “you flew in on a private plane, and someone set up your RV already -> ergo you’re not a Burner”
Where do you draw the line? Why even draw lines?

Radical inclusion means that yes, we might have to allow some rich assholes in, and yes, we might have to allow some poor assholes in, and yes, there probably will be drunk assholes as well. Even some of the authorities will be assholes. You know what? Deal with it. Embrace everyone. If they’re such assholes that they cause problems, give them a Burner strike. Send them to Moop Rehab camp, make it a fun thing where they learn the ideology while having a laugh with others.

Let the rich people do their thing, let them have whatever they want to enjoy the party. If that’s servants, great – they’re providing opportunities for others who aren’t rich to experience Burning Man too. If it’s pre-made camps, that’s actually going to solve a lot of problems with annoying neighbors. There will be people in the camp who are paid to ensure everyone has a good time, learns the Burning Man way, and that all the moops are picked up.

Rich people that come in from around the world might not be like everyone on the streets of San Francisco, but they are not Burning Man’s enemy – their patronage is as essential to the art as the artists talent. The history of art shows that most great artists would not have achieved fame and success without rich people to buy their works and otherwise sponsor their creations. In the case of Burning Man, all art cars, art projects and theme camps are labors of love from teams of people. Take the patrons away, and the art car isn’t going to get there on love alone. This makes the patron’s role more important than the truck driver’s.

47 comments on ““Look daaahling, a sparkle pony!” Burning Man in Town and Country

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  8. Adulation of celebrity is a sickness in the default and adulation of money and patron worship ruins art. I don’t want to know that someone is famous or rich in the default world, I want to experience what that person has to offer to the community. And I want to know that they are interested in what I have to offer without forcing me to acknowledge their “obvious superiority” as measured by our celebrity culture in the default. When they go about in packs, they are not available to participate, they are spectating.

    If the gift of PnP guests is JUST money then they fail – money, while necessary is a cop-out. I am repulsed by the idea that their costumes are plug’n play. This takes away something fundamental to the existence of a temporary autonomous zone which Black Rock City is. New York City is not BRC and it never could be. NYC is the art that someone with money has decided is beautiful. BRC’s art is what any burner chooses to express.

    Big art at BRC is kinda cool but its overdone. One or two meaningful Big Art pieces would be adequate. I’d rather see hundreds of pieces of art created by individual burners expressing what they think or feel is important to express whether or not it has anything whatsoever to do with Larry’s theme.

    Burning Man appears to be falling victim to the concept that growth is sustainable – mistakenly accepting the fallacy that all growth is good.

    Oh Christ, I was hoping to avoid reading your gd Atlas Shrugged piece. I don’t really have time to explain the evils of Ayn Rand. Since you like to read so much, how about I recommend Andrzej Łobaczewski’s Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes, (Grande Prairie: Red Pill Press, 2006), This may assist you in comprehending reality.

    As for your fascination with Hollywood, it has become the least creative place on the planet. The films created by Hollywood are only those which have the greatest potential of returning the greatest profit to the studios – the star system has sucked all the creative potential out of acting leaving us with little of value. The movies jumped the shark when colour satisfied the pathetic sensibilities of the rich. True film art is being created by people whose work will never be seen but by the few who attend a handful of independent film festivals around the world. Having reviewed several over the years, they are also being infected by this grubbing after money. Fortunately youtube has freed up the vehicle for art to be created without the infestation of money, for a little while. The moneyed of our world have decided that they will soon own and control the internet too.

    Artists will seek the next frontier where they are uninhibited by the need to satisfy any patron. Art is for art’s sake, it is the individual expression of a single person’s idea or concept or thought. The rest is posters and backdrops for the rich. Artists create to express themselves. As soon as money interferes and demands that art be created to satisfy the moneyed, it is no longer art. Artists do not seek patronage except to allow them the time to truly create while staying alive. The moneyed attach so many strings to their patronage that the artist no longer has time to be creative. As long as the PnP guests don’t expect us to create anything for them, they are welcome to come and participate, in my opinion. But they have already put demands on the city’s population, haven’t they?

    • “the best theater is not on Broadway” – go see Book of Mormon, and tell me it didn’t deserve 9 Tony awards. “the best art is on the back streets” – have you been to any of the art museums in New York? Or the world for that matter? Sure, there is some great street art, I love street art. But there’s nothing wrong with the Venus de Milo, or Basquiat’s paintings after he was discovered. Most people would agree that there is good art in museums and galleries; the fact that the art is worth something financially, does not make it “less good”.

      Your idea “Burning Man should just be 1 or 2 big art pieces” is laughable, given your stubborn defending of a big art piece you didn’t even see.

      Your idea that as soon as money interferes it is no longer art, instantly dismisses any art piece at Burning Man that used kickstarter, indiegogo, door sales, or any other fundraising method, to get their piece to the Playa. Burning Man art is NOT made by one person, it is a team effort – design, build, ship, assemble, burn (or, dismantle and re-use).

      Your idea that the artist cannot be creative once strings get attached, ignores that volunteer labor has strings as well. If people work for you because you’ve promised them a ticket, you’d better have enough tickets – or you will be spending your time managing logistics and labour issues, not art.

      See the comments below for more discussion of Deb’s arguments.

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  12. This look like a good spot… to drop my 24.8 cents (re-adjusted for the hidden inflation of printing massive amounts of fiat currency)…and some additional ramblings… I can’t stand idiots on segways in fact… I consider riding Segways to be the new shirtcocking. Not sure why segways really get to me. I love the tech behind a segway, I think it may be lack of creativity, the lack of effort, and the lack of consideration the the folks I have seen on segways show others. It may have been witnessing a sparkle pony in a $5000 outfit, jacked up on way more of something than she needed, dancing on segway in the middle of the crowd at robot heart, back and forth like a gittirotty zombie, running over toes and in desperate need of a kick in the pooner. Was it the act of total disregard for the people attached to the feet she was running over, or the fact that she was so clueless that she should have been immediately filtered out of the gene pool? Not sure. I remember hoping the thing would malfunction somehow and fling her into space. Deep breath, everyone is here to learn and grow, I constantly think to myself.

    Much like the dickheads on segways the other groups that amaze me are the self righteous (liberal hippy or hardcore) burner knowitall “vetran” of 3-5 years who claims RVs and PnP camps are ruining the burn. Then there are the pro-welfare folks who think BM just happens with a wave of the magic-wand and that BM should give out tickets and food stamps, and that no camp should be aloud to collect camp contributions. Lets paint that picture shall we… we all stay in the same design of tents, made out of recycled organic cotton diapers that we all make ourselves from plans published on the internet, no RVs, no domes, no sound systems and what acoustic guitar sets, drum circles and samfir playing a pan flute? I think they already have that going, its called a rainbow gathering. Maybe the fed-gov should run BM and we can bus in intercity youth because they are feeling left out.

    As you may have guessed by this point in the rant, I put on a large plug n’ play camp. Am I to some, like segway a-holes are to me… Hmmmm…. most likely yes. Am I ok with that? Absolutely.

    I plan the camp, take the ri$k, compile the contributions (legal term for camp fees) and hopefully have a chance to share the 10 commandments, and the culture of BM with people from all over the world who would not be able to do BM if it were not for PnP. I have witnessed many very wealthy and powerful people have paradigm shifting experiences on the playa. Some would say I have ruined them, I like to say I have turned them out. If nothing else I have exposed them to an experience (or several) that will help reduced the zero-sum-game mentality and expand the ideas outlined in the principals. Over the years I have raise or been a part of raising more than $1m in USD, all of which has been spent on camps and art, donated to art cars and to Sanctuary, (Can be read as “for your benefit”). Not the most and certainly not the least.

    Would this all be possible if I said to my friends “hey lets camp in a tent for a week and crap in hot smelly porto-potties that some cretin smeared shit all over just before you need to use it!”? Nope, not, likely. Would they contribute the hundreds of thousands of dollars to support real artists and give them a chance to build their dream on the playa? Another resounding no.

    Domes, sound systems, art… Where does the funding come from to make this happen? BM does not fund it all, nor do tent campers. Lets break it down for those who don’t know…

    Domes at BM? The best domes come from the Dome Guys in OR. For a used one you are looking at $25,000 + another $1000 for cleaning and transport + another $4000 for set up an take down. Sound systems… ProOne Mmmmmmmm Yep several, several thousand just to rent. Electricity? Yep you need that too… gen sets try $5000 for rent and fuel, art work? How about a horse for $120,000 not including all the man hours… None of this is paid for by BM or by your Mom.

    Ok so lets pick a number… $155,000. How many tents can you fit on 150×200? divide that into $155,000, anyone? Either way you slice it offering someone a space for their tent is going to be a hard sell to raise that kind of money.

    Solution: PnP Camping: Ill organize all the amenities, make it easier, bring in the donations, and build the camp. If it is going to cost $100,000 for all the sound, dome, lights, toilets, gen sets, food etc… I need to get contributions of $1000 each from 100 people or I am going to take a loss, which happens almost always. Since we have tent campers and poor friends also… we ask those than can pay $1500 to do that and then we can offer $500 contributions also.

    Yes, it can be done with parties, and kickstarters if you have the time and if people are not broke or cheap. Burning Man is not a cheap sport.

    If you have a better idea on how to get all of this paid for… I welcome you to make it happen. Be part of the solution you want, rather than some little bitch on the sidelines whining about it.

    Going through the yearly process we all learn and thrive in the culture of BM, every year we adopt orphans, every year we contribute to the big picture, and most importantly we take home what we see and learn on playa. What do you want people on playa to take home from their interaction with you? What thoughts, ideas and experiences do you want people to take from you?

    My first burn was 1992 (I think) (about 5000 people) and have missed only 3 years. The first time I slept in, on, and under a car, if I slept at all. I was completely unprepared. I was taken care of, loved, accepted, and changed for ever. That sentence may be worth dissecting; I was loved and accepted, even in my stupidity of being completely unprepared with only peanut butter and bread, water, Jack Daniels, and the clothing on my back, and I was changed forever. Every year I try to pass that ethos forward, yes even to the sparkly-fucks on segways… And yes that is a challenge at times.

    Now I am fortunate enough, and have worked hard enough, and I CHOOSE to burn in and RV… and to put on a PnP camp for all my other fortunate friends.

    There will always be people who will say burning man has changed, its not good anymore, sold out, and RV castles are ruining it. They hang onto the past and fail to live in the moment enjoying what is happening now. This is unfortunate.

    What people fail to understand it the fact that change is really the only thing you can count on in life. Embrace it. Love it. Burning Man is different every year, it changes, and morphs. Some years are hotter, some colder, dusting and blue skies, sometimes rain. Overall, BM is also what you make it. Everyone has their own path and speed at which they are traveling down it. Remember from where you have come, before you judge others. Don’t be a hater because you don’t have a Yurt, or a giant dome, or an RV. Get over it. Live your own experience and engage in a positive manor. You may be surprised at the result.

    See you in the dirt,

    Christian

    PS: You can find me in the giant RV with 8 pop-outs, 5 A/C units, and a dust free toilet and kitchen, knock loudly though as I may be drinking Champagne in the hot tub, whilst getting blown by a sparkle pony, or two, each profusely covered in glitter.

    • Thanks very much CW. Great comment and perspective. It’s good to get some support for this viewpoint – and I’m sure there’s more of us. Some camps are better provisioned than others, fact of
      life. This costs money, Burning Man should stop taking all the credit for the enormous efforts of Burners to make it happen excellently.

    • Thanks for explaining PnP. What will happen if the level of work done by volunteers (DPW) to clean up the glitter increases beyond the capacity of the community’s ability to attract people who will stay for 6 weeks to work for next to nothing? What happens when the ethos is so far removed from the participants that the event does not meet the BLM standard for Leave No Trace? This is my only concern with PnP. Will PnP take its share of responsibility for the end of Burning Man?

      The working conditions and lack of benefits for that group of workers/volunteers remains an outstanding problem with the whole BRC setup. It seems to me that your PnP guests may practice the LNT ethos when under your careful supervision in camp but because they are not vested in the ethos through the delivery of a contribution to the city through development of their own camp, I fear they contribute to the increased risk of the demise of Burning Man through its increased size and popularity. Someone has to sweep up the glitter and those people are underpaid and overworked. Where is the breaking point? and are PnP camps hastening its arrival?

      Your thesis remains unproven, in my opinion, although I’m open to further debate. And it was refreshing to read a challenge to the weakening of one the most important of the ten principles: radical inclusion.

      • This year, half of our camp was gone by Sunday night, and less than a quarter were still there for the clean up Monday morning. This was more to do with them being Virgins than the fact that our camp was so organized that we charged people dues.

        If people were paid professionally to clean up properly, it would create work for the thousands of (probably) unemployed Burners I saw at the Grand Sierra throughout the week, and help ensure that some of the larger and more consumptive camps, cleaned up to the maximum possible effect. To me this would only add to Burning Man. Let’s face it, there are many, many people who want to attend the event, but not get into it heart and soul and change their lives around it. That number is only going to increase in the future, the event is becoming more mainstream as it grows and the indoctrination into the 10 Principles is only going to get harder and harder. Leave No Trace is a principle, yes, but it’s also a fundamental requirement of the BLM permit – and therefore more important than some of the others.

  13. You must be on some shit to believe this crap you are spewing. The BM community isn’t up in arms about rich people. The giving of burning man isn’t boiled down to the tossing of material items around at a party you’re throwing or how much booze you throw at the crowds. This framework of doing bad for a little material good you’re proposing is preposterous. I don’t feel like I should need to quote one of the ten principles to establish the fact that someone PAYS someone to CATER (not a co-op kitchen like other camps) and to set up there tents / RV’s is missing a very fundamental aspect of not just burning man, but camping or life in general. Burning man is about walking on your own two feet, not riding in on a carriage of gold (figuratively) and being served.

    P.S. Champagne and steaks are AWESOME on the playa. I just don’t think you should have to be invited by a corporatation with an agenda because you’re model-esque and wearing a professionally made costume. I make my costumes and steaks with my community.

    • maybe you should try going to Burning Man and getting served, and then report back to us on if it destroyed your soul and you could no longer be considered a Burner – instead of just being a hater, insulting others from a position of ignorance. Have you ever had servants in your life, Evan? A nanny? A taxi driver? Someone who cooked for you? A maid? A painter? What about an electrician or a plumber? All of these people are at Burning Man. Why can’t you just accept and embrace them? What did they do to you? Is it because you lack the skills to find gainful employment in today’s economy?

      • And now you propose to support the most evil concept of all – that labour should give itself over to capital at the command and behest of the capitalist. That is the most evil distortion in Ayn Rand’s warped thinking.

        Labour is a resource that belongs to the person who contributes best to the world and lives the most fulfilling life when the labour he CHOOSES is meaningful to the individual, to his/her family and to his/her community. Randians would have us all working for minimum wage waiting on and catering to the few who own no talent but the ability to steal and covet capital from society. Not being satisfied with that or possibly bored by their existence, they would portion out pitiful amounts of capital to “artists” to beautify their pathetic lives. They get what NYC has become.

        The best art in NYC can be seen in the back alleys and underground places where artists glean a living off the excesses of the rich in the fewest possible hours and in significant enough quantity to allow them free time to truly create. The best theatre is not on Broadway – its off, off, off Broadway.

      • reposted here because Deb is taking her rant all over this blog: I appreciate you reading some more of the blog Deb, although you definitely seem to be on a one-woman Troll crusade, where refuting any points I make with logic is thrown out the window in favor of ad hominem attacks and feeble attempts to stoke the fires of class warfare.

        I wonder if you could provide some examples of successful societies, based on your idea “equal valuing of labour by the labourer and the capital provider” (ie Marxism) -this has been tried in resource-rich economies like Russia and China, they rejected it. Cuba is still clinging on to some vestiges of communism, but realistically is a hereditary dictatorship more like North Korea – which is perhaps the closest place in the world to your ideals. The capitalist (Kim Jong-Jr) values labour the same way as the labourer – ie 0. The less resources the nation has, the worse off the people seem to be, in either communism or capitalism; but there are nations with limited resources where the people have good quality of life, however these are not the communist countries.

        You might also be interested to learn some economic history. Your good buddies in Wall Street are the ones who funded the Bolshevik revolution in the first place. Read all about it here.

        You twist my idea “Burners who want to make extra money should be able to work in camps where people can afford to pay them” (something that has been happening for years at Burning Man), into “Ayn Randians would have all of us working for minimum wage” – first of all, if you took this message from reading Atlas Shrugged, then perhaps you did only read the book as a teenager, and that is why you’re so obsessed with relating my arguments to teenage education (when I personally advocate that Burning Man should be adults only, because of the extreme sex and drug use on display). Ayn Rand’s message (in both Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead) is “fair reward for fair work”. Secondly, you are trying to put words in my mouth based on your own communist ideals, I’ve never suggested that everyone should be on minimum wage or should work for free and be exploited by those with the capital. People should work for whatever makes sense for them, money, favors, status, whatever motivates them. It’s all good with me, I’m not a hater. Someone who got paid $0 to spend 4 months contributing to Occupy Wall Street to burn it down, is no better in my eyes than someone who got paid $1000 to tune the sound system on an art car.

        Your other idea, of placing equal value on inputs and outputs based on the planet’s finite resources, comes straight from Thomas Malthus – a fool like Darwin, whose ideas have been continually disproved over centuries. I’m not saying “don’t value the environment” – my beliefs are quite the opposite – but I am saying “scarcity is a fallacy which has been repeatedly disproven by innovation and exploration”. Perhaps that will be a trigger for you to switch the debate now to Intelligent Design, versus the ideas of a eugenicist who himself openly admitted to gaping holes in his theory (such as the eye). Or if you’re a reader of ZeroHedge (and based on the tone of your rants, I doubt it) they neatly carve the world into “doomers vs cornucopians”. I’m one of the latter, because I’m a glass half full guy.

        If you think Burning Man would be the same if all the rich people left, you are just as wrong as the grumbling grunts in Atlas Shrugged who think everything would be great if the boss wasn’t there. Who is going to pay the fuel costs alone to transport all that stuff to and from the Playa? (clue: it’s not BMOrg. And it’s not the poor). If you think a poor person contributes the same thing to Burning Man as a rich person, you are wrong in almost all cases. The assumption that rich people can’t get or enjoy Burning Man is firstly ridiculous, secondly offensive, and thirdly ignorant. The idea that buying costumes hurts the Burner community, is short sighted and ultimately hurts the poor (members of the Burner community who make clothing art but do not have a lot of money, so need to make sales) more than it hurts the rich (who can buy their costumes anywhere, or pay anyone to make them). Same with people getting paid to work on art projects, transportation, or camp operations. Burning Man should facilitate these economic transactions staying within the Burner community: “a rising tide lifts all boats”.

  14. Burn one, burn all! Maybe PnP is not my cup of tea, but who and I to draw a line to exclude those that want to burn? Burning Man invites all to participate.

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  18. I have LOTS of rich burner friends. What I don’t have is friends getting corporate sponsorship and illegally publishing photos without signed consent forms….

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    • Thanks Zen. It’s great that our post stirred up the BMOrg enough for a response. There’s a line to be drawn, but it’s not “rich vs poor”. It’s “Burner vs Asshole”

  20. What makes burning man so special to so many people is that everyone is expected to participate, not spectate. I have no issue with people flying in, staying in RV’s, or attending (or hosting) a dinner. But if you do not contribute to the event, you are merely a parasitic leech. I have seen nothing that indicates that the people hosting the event, and the “guests” did anything to make the experience better for everyone else, and in fact, they made it worse by just abandoning their dinner structure without any thought of clean up. This sense of entitlement, and thoughtless self-absorbed behavior is what I find reprehensible.

      • Wrong. The lavish camp amenities are a symptom of first world disease and illustrative of when the event is about to jump the shark. First world disease is the self-entitled overuse of a greater share of the available resources to the detriment of the second world and third world – the ones who are supposed to be happy to do with less to gratify our extravagances. Mother Nature will exact the cost out of our self-entitled asses eventually if we choose to continue to abuse the resources or use more than our fair share whilst enslaving the rest of the world (or the poor burners at the Grand Sierra who you so pathetically think would be grateful for the opportunity to serve you).

        The more I read your blog the more I despise the poison that you so heartily convey. You are not a burner, you are pathetically using all of the symbols and trademarks of the organization to draw attention to yourself and your disneyification of something you could not possibly comprehend.

      • Try applying your logic to Burning Man itself. Do you come up with any way to justify Burning Man? People are starving in America, let alone your so-called “third world”

  21. Nobody will tell you that Burning Man is better, more artistic or more cutting-edge with 60,000 than it was with 30,000 or 10,000. It’s not the adventurous souls who trek out to the playa who a ruining it. It’s the clueless, incessant blathering about it in the media like that completely misses the point of it.

    You can rent a jet and go have lavish dinners anywhere in the world if you have a Citation X and a bunch of friends. A better idea would be to bring some art and give back to the community rather than expecting us all to build it so we can entertain you and your celebrity friends.

  22. I think the Towne & Country article shows Burning Man has indeed jumped the shark. A pity. It didn’t have to happen. Any similar events (if there are any) wishing to avoid the same collapse should ban RVs. Unfortunately it appears the borg are more interested in $$$ than ‘community’ and this will not happen. The event is becoming a ridiculous parody of what it used to be.

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  24. Does all this plug and play take away from the darwinism that kept the faint of heart away? this article makes burning man look like the 4 seasons…. all the main stream press has contributed to the insane ticket demand- I also heard it was covered in Delta inflight magazine

    • only if they stay in their RV! The minute they set foot outside their camp, they’re cut down to be just like anyone else. I’d rather have Darwinism than random selection, or even worse Inept Design!

    • considering the Town & Country article was specifically *not* approved by the BMorg, yet printed anyway, and that the whole thing was an under-the-radar promotional event for, and funded by Krug champagne in direct violation of burning man policies, I don’t think you can make any value judgement about the event itself based on this article or the party it depicts

  25. I’m guessing you’ve never heard of the term “gentrification”.

    What you are talking about will in the end destroy Burning Man exactly the same way it destroyed every other enclave of artists since, give or take, around 300 AD.

    • I don’t know, I see Pacific Heights as the most gentrified neighborhood in SF, and those houses are FULL of art. And there are plenty of art galleries in Pac Heights. Looks to me like the arts are thriving thanks to gentrification – Burning Man is ready to go through the Renaissance

      • Really? Have you visited New York City(a textbook case of gentrification)? Studied the history of the Beats(a more detailed case of how popularity can lead to gentrification)?

        It’s interesting that you bring up the Renaissance as there seem to be a part of the Renaissance that you are ignoring. Those patrons you seem to be so enamored of? They had a habit of only sponsoring things they liked. Have you ever noticed that the art from that period is very pretty but a little short on anything that challenges anything worth challenging? It isn’t a coincidence.

        Your plan would remove any art at Burning Man that isn’t nice and acceptable towards the upper class. The clues are actually within what you have written. There is lots of talk of big and shiny stuff but that’s about it. We shouldn’t offend the rich people with art that doesn’t cater to them.

        Good art should awe, engage, and enlighten. What you are talking about would make Burning Man no better than a bad cross of Ibiza and Disney World.

        Of course, I get the distinct impression that you think that Burning Man already is a cross between Ibiza and Disney World or you would love it to be that. In which case, go nuts.

      • Actually I read that but couldn’t quite articulate a response until now. I’d like to point out one particular thing you said in part III.

        “The more patronage there is, the more outrageous art there’s going to be.”

        That is not true. The only difference between a group of individual wealthy patrons sponsoring things and a single corporation sponsoring things is in the speed of degeneration.

        The art will be big. It will be pretty. But it won’t matter anymore except as a sad historical footnote. It won’t be for love of the game. It will be for the love of Mammon.

        • I suggest you watch the movie Basquiat, featuring David Bowie playing Andy Warhol. He was spraying words on walls, until Warhol discovered him, and he started painting his most famous works. Yes, some patrons tried to compromise his art; this is a standard dynamic I think, each artist can deal with it in their own way. I stand by my point, without financial donations, most art projects wouldn’t make it to Burning Man. This is not anything new

      • Basquait is set in New York BTW. A city which yes I have been to, great city, I found it to be full of artists, even on the street; and full of art museums, full of art galleries. Where do you think the art in the public museums came from? They bought it with money. Where did the money come from? Their patrons. Also other great movies on this topic are Art of the Steal, and of course Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop. In the latter, Banksy provides exactly the sort of ladder I was talking about in Part III of the Atlas series.

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