12 Stunning Images Of Intricate Art Pieces In The Middle Of The Desert At Burning Man

Aly Weisman

The 27th annual Burning Man  a crazy, week-long festival in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada  starts this Monday and everyone is already buzzing about it.

In preparation of the Labor Day weekend festival, a new book "Burning Man: Art of Fire" details the elaborate art structures displayed throughout the past years of the event.

The book, by author Jennifer Raiser with photography by Scott London and Sidney Erthal, is the only authorized collection of the best of Burning Man art with incredible photography.

The book contains more than 200 striking photos and interviews with the artists about their inspiration and how they transport such large structures to the middle of the desert.

With permission from Race Point Publishing, we have 12 of the stunning images here.

Every August, over 50,0000 people gather to celebrate artistic expression and social freedom in Nevada's barren Black Rock Desert. Braving extreme elements, over 200 works of art are created and intended to delight, provoke, involve, or amaze.

New book "Burning Man: Art of Fire" details the many art pieces in the desert, like this piece titled "Evolution Man," which was made entirely of irregularly shaped wooden triangles intended to represent the chaos at the heart of life.

There is ritual surrounding every aspect of the Man’s creation and destruction. He is traditionally 40 feet tall, standing on a tall wooden base that participants can enter and climb. The blueprints for his construction are a closely guarded secret, provided only to the carefully selected crew, largely volunteers, who gather at Burning Man’s Nevada work ranch in June for the process of carefully cutting, assembling, joining, and sanding of the Man with a level of craftsmanship befitting an antique piece of fine furniture.

Artist Marco Cochrane's "Truth is Beauty" 2013 structure of the female body was held up with steel and mesh.

Cochrane credits the open-minded culture of Burning Man for inspiring the sculptures. He says: “I’m trying to demystify nudity. I see how free women are on the playa, how they can possess a playful energy here that they cannot do in real life.”

"A Field of Sunflower Robots" — created using LED lights, wire, solar panels, motors, and electronic components — moved throughout the day to follow the sun in 2006.

In his native Italy, Stefano Corazza was used to driving past vast fields of sunflowers. So a field of robotic sunflowers at Burning Man made perfect sense — particularly when they were powered by solar panels. Each flower was made from neon and LED lights and, like actual sunflowers planted in rich soil, they would follow the arc of the sun, tilting their faces toward the brightest part.

"The Wet Dream" structure was built to keep people cool and provide shade. It was made with umbrellas and LED ropes to resemble rain.

UK-based architectural design collective,Warmbaby, created a space to bring a whimsical representation of cooling English rain to heat-soaked Black Rock City. The structure housed a canopy of umbrellas to protect from the heat of the sun during the day and a 24-hour background audio of thunder and lightning, illuminated at night with LED rope lights positioned to resemble rain. The umbrellas were gifted to participants returning to rainy climates at the end of the week.

(Photo: Courtesy Race Point Publishing/Sidney Erthal and Scott London Photography)

"The Temple of Transition" is a grand installation that appeared in the desert in 2011.

The most visible symbol of inspiration and praise in Black Rock City is the Temple, which is always situated at the very top of the city, in the open playa due north of the Man. The Temple is a deeply spiritual place, one that offers a sacred space for contemplation, free from religious or denominational tenets. Its design changes every year, but its meaning remains the same: a place for the community to celebrate the gifts of life, reflect on the past, remember loved ones, and relinquish sadness to the flames that ritually engulf the Temple and close the event on Sunday night.

This steel "EGO" was made of wood, plaster, paint, and metal objects before being purposely burned to the ground in 2012.

Spray-painted bright gold, the forms affixed and gilded on the surface of the letters become a sinister narrative that participants could interpret in myriad ways: the ego is fake; things look rich and important when gold paint is applied; if you look too closely, you will be appalled by what you see. TheEGOcelebration culminated at midnight of the Burn 2012, when ten individuals with flamethrowers were invited by Kimpton to simultaneously turn their torches onto theEGOand watch it burn to the ground.

This 2009 "Soma" structure took 100 volunteers to make.

Made with steel, aluminum, mixed metal, propane, and other flammable gases, the Flaming Lotus Girls created Soma in 2009.

The Flaming Lotus Girls are fiercely devoted to the collaborative process that characterizes so much of Burning Man’s organizational style. They meet weekly at their arts space in San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood. “We use a unique design methodology with a hyper-fluid organizational structure,” says Mortazavi. Along with a core group of about 30, they include up to 100 volunteers in each large-scale project, citing creativity, education, and human contribution as an integral part of their work.

The suits on Dadara's "Bankers" gradually turned into painter’s overalls in 2012.

The bankers who explained the process were wearing dark blue pinstriped business suits, which faded down to painter’s overalls at the bottom. Dadara says: “Wearing a suit was the most unusual costume on the playa. It made a lot of people very uncomfortable. Some people said we were destroying money. The only thing we were destroying was its financial value. We were creating art.”

This piece, titled "Church Trap," was created "to engage the notion of the Christian church."

This giant Rebekah Waites structure evoked passionate interaction and response.

This 2008 "Steampunk Treehouse" was made to fit adults and had a working chimney.

This copper, steel, and wood piece explores the relationship between the rapidly changing natural world and the persistent human drive to connect. Participants could climb the circular staircase to enter an adult size treehouse with a handmade aesthetic. “My father and I built a tree house when I was a kid,” says creator Sean Orlando. “For this one, we collaborated with Kinetic Steamworks to plumb the tree to shoot big puffs of steam.”

Over 100 people could gather inside the belly of 2006's "Serpent Mother," made with metal, propane, electronic components, and hydraulics.

Serpent Motherwas a 168-foot-long sculpture of a skeletal dragon-like serpent coiled around her steel egg, creating a protective circle inside which 100 people could gather. Most of her 50 vertebrae spouted propane-fueled flame effects, shooting six-foot-high jets of flame that could be activated in various patterns by participants at four separate locations, or activated at once by the artists using the “Wow” button. The serpent’s head was particularly impressive, moving over 20 feet in the air, opening and closing a jaw of jagged teeth, and breathing fire, under-lit with computer-controlled LED lights. The pneumatically controlled head would dip down close to the crowd and snap her jaw, an effect that never ceased to threaten and impress nearby participants without causing actual harm. She surrounded a copper-clad shell that remained closed throughout the week, until Friday night, when it was ceremonially hinged open to shoot a rainbow of colored liquid methanol flame effects into the sky and hatch a baby serpent out of the egg. The wildly popular installation burned over two tons of propane per night.

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