This Burning Man Artist Built a Temple and Set It on Fire This Weekend to Honor Victims of the Parkland Shooting. See Photos of the Blaze Here

The work was funded by a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

David Best, Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo by Ncole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.
David Best, Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the victims of the 2018 Parkland shooting, was set on fire on May 19. Photo by Ncole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

A work of art went up in flames in Coral Springs, Florida, over the weekend—but the blaze was intentional. David Best, an artist known for making temples to honor the dead at Burning Man, set fire to his sculpture, titled Temple of Times, to pay tribute to the 17 people killed in the 2018 shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Best erected the 35-foot-tall ornately carved, non-sectarian plywood structure over the course of two weeks in February with with local residents affected by the shooting, turning the process into a kind of communal art therapy.

“There’s no way in hell we’re going to heal a murdered child,” Best told the Miami New Times. He says he named the work Temple of Time because only time would heal such grief.

Family members of three of the victims, including star swimmer Nicholas Dworet, school athletic director Chris Hixon, and marching band member Gina Montalto, lit the sculpture on fire yesterday to commence the ceremonial burn.

David Best, Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo courtesy the city of Coral Springs.

David Best, Temple of Time (2019). The work, which honors the victims of the Parkland shooting, was set on fire on May 19. Photo courtesy of the city of Coral Springs, Florida.

The project was organized by the Coral Springs Museum of Art using a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art ChallengeTemple of Time is one of five large-scale art installations coming to Parkland and Coral Springs over the next two years as part of the museum’s art therapy program.

Best’s sculpture was first unveiled on February 14, the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, which has given rise to a new generation of gun-control activists led by student survivors of the Parkland shooting.

Best was inspired to build his first memorial sculpture in 2000, when his mentee, Michael Hefflin, died in a motorcycle accident shortly before a planned trip to Burning Man. Best turned the piece he had been working on into a tribute to Hefflin. During the week in the desert, other attendees wrote the names of their deceased loved ones on the structure, creating a communal memorial that was set alight at the end of the event. The temple and its incineration has since become a Burning Man tradition.

“It’s good to be out and come together in the community to really share in our pain and our rage to channel [it] into something constructive,” onlooker Andrea Venkatesan told CNN of the ceremonial blaze.

See more photos of Temple of Time below.

David Best, Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo courtesy the city of Coral Springs, Florida.

David Best, Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo courtesy the city of Coral Springs, Florida.

David Best with his sculpture <em>Temple of Time</em> (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo by Nicole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

David Best with his sculpture Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo by Nicole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

David Best, <em>Temple of Time</em> (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Here, a loved one leaves a tribute on the memorial. Photo by Nicole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

David Best, Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Here, a loved one leaves a tribute on the memorial. Photo by Nicole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

David Best, Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo courtesy the city of Coral Springs, Florida.

David Best, Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo courtesy the city of Coral Springs, Florida.

David Best and a volunteer working on his sculpture <em>Temple of Time</em> (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo courtesy the city of Coral Springs, Florida.

David Best and a volunteer working on his sculpture Temple of Time (2019). The work, which honors the victims of the 2018 Parkland shooting, was set on fire on May 19. Photo courtesy of the city of Coral Springs, Florida.

Firefighters monitor the flames as David Best's <em>Temple of Time</em> (2019), which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo by Nicole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Firefighters monitor the flames as David Best’s Temple of Time (2019), which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo by Nicole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Firefighters were on hand as David Best's <em>Temple of Time</em> (2019), which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo by Nicole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Firefighters were on hand as David Best’s Temple of Time (2019), which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo by Nicole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Tributes left on David Best's memorial sculpture Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo by Nicole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Tributes left on David Best’s memorial sculpture Temple of Time (2019). The artwork, which honors the 17 victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, shooting, was set on fire May 19, 2019. Photo by Nicole Craine, courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics