Oh, It’s a Giant Robo-Buddha: See the Most Mind-Blowing Art From This Year’s Burning Man

Catch a glimpse of the massive artworks before they go up in smoke.

A sculpture at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of leahwanders via Instagram.

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, <em>Múcaro</em> at Burning Man. Courtesy of jtportland via Instagram.

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 artwork of Burning Man has also inspired an exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art titled “City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man,” which explores the festival’s origins and explosive growth from a small countercultural event to a worldwide phenomenon.

The Burning Man statue at the 2017 gathering, enclosed for the first time. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal.

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.”

Whether or not your a fan of the man’s new digs, they won’t stick around for long—it’s all going up in flames when the gathering ends on Monday.

See more photos of the festival below.

The Burning Man statue at the 2017 gathering, enclosed for the first time. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal/John Curley.

The Burning Man statue at the 2017 gathering, enclosed for the first time. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal/John Curley.

Miguel Angel Martin Bordera, Stepping Forward, an over 20-foot-tall marionette that moves about Black Rock City at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal.

Miguel Angel Martin Bordera, Stepping Forward, an over 20-foot-tall marionette that moves about Black Rock City at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal/John Curley.

LaynaJoy Rivas and Eva Reiska, Sysimetsä a sculpture of a burnt forest at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal.

LaynaJoy Rivas and Eva Reiska,
Sysimetsä a sculpture of a burnt forest at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal/John Curley.

Josh Zubkoff, Phoenicopterus Rex, a 40-foot-tall flamingo-shaped observatory that towers above Black Rock City at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal.

Josh Zubkoff, Phoenicopterus Rex, a 40-foot-tall flamingo-shaped observatory that towers above Black Rock City at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal/John Curley.

Greg Barron, The Monaco, a converted RV that literally sails across the playa, at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal.

Greg Barron, The Monaco, a converted RV that literally sails across the playa, at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal/John Curley.

Dana Albany, <em>Tara Mechani</em>, a statue of a robotic female buddha, at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal/John Curley.

Dana Albany, Tara Mechani, a statue of a robotic female buddha, at Burning Man 2017. Courtesy of the Burning Man Journal/John Curley.


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