Playa Art Before Burning Man

Thank to Burner Dispatch for bringing this to my attention. California Sunday has some “never seen before” photos by Richard Misrach – “one of the most influential photographers of his generation” – of early Burning Man and the art events that were happening in the Black Rock Desert even before Burning Man.

Ya Gotta Regatta, 1989. Image: Richard Misrach/California Sunday

Look familiar?

Ya Gotta Regatta, 1989. Image: Richard Misrach/California Sunday

Croquet X Machina was featured in Sports Illustrated in 1988.

https://www.si.com/vault/1988/04/11/117465/wicked-wickets-out-west-who-would-believe-croquet-could-be-this-big-in-the-desert

The concept in 1987 was dreamed up as therapy for PTS from an auto accident by Marshall Lyons, an Arborist from San Francisco and his partner John Bogard, a potter from the local Black Rock area. Larry Harvey was a landscape gardener in San Francisco at the time.

Croquet x Machina, 1987. Image: Richard Misrach/California Sunday

Read the full story and see all the photos (including some of early Burning Man events) at California Sunday Magazine.

Desert Siteworks was another one of the crews doing art-themed events out there in the early days.

“It came out of the black water” = “I read it in Sports Illustrated”?


See also:

Wicca Your Way Down on Baker Beach

The Story of the First Burning Man on the Playa

Tyler Durden Invented Burning Man

A Hot Mess – Burning Man in the 90s

3 comments on “Playa Art Before Burning Man

  1. My dad was a collector of Misrach photographs, so I’m very familiar with his work. However, I had no idea he attended and photographed early Burning Man, although it makes complete sense based on his milieu. Great stuff.

  2. >…the art events that were happening in the Black Rock Desert even before Burning Man.

    There was nothing out there before Burning Man. Time did not exist before Larry Harvey.

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