First Glimpse of the Otherworldly Art of Burning Man 2018

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Each year the eyes of the world are glued to the Nevada desert, as the Burning Man festival reaches its apex over Labor Day weekend. The annual event attracts people from around the globe, including major artists and architects who help transform the Playa with their incredible art installations. Images have begun to pour out of Black Rock City, showing how, yet again, the art of Burning Man doesn't disappoint.

One of the most highly anticipated installations of this year's edition is The ORB. This enormous sphere hovers like a mirrored globe over the Playa and was designed by acclaimed architects Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange of BIG. The duo had already invested heavily in the project when they launched a crowdfunding campaign for the last $50,000. Though they didn't quite make that goal, that hasn't stopped them from installing the magnificent piece, which fits in perfectly with this year's I, Robot theme.

Mamou-Mani Architects‘ spiraling TempleGalaxia, is another focal point of the festivities. This sanctuary of relaxation will certainly be getting a lot of use during the festival, as it's a space for reflection and contemplation away from the crowds. A huge group of 120 volunteers came together for its construction, spending over 10,000 hours to make sure everything was in place. Its timber trusses will go up in flames the day after the ritual burning of the Man, as dictated by annual tradition, so check it out while you can.

Prior to the event, there was a lot of fuss made about an installation made from over 3,000 NASA space blankets. The brainchild of Russian artist Alex Shtanuk, the project didn't meet its fundraising goal either and thus far, hasn't appeared in photos. From Randy Polumbo‘s nosediving aircraft—which first made an appearance at Coachella—to a rainbow Pac-Man bridge, there's still plenty to take in as the festival moves toward its end date—September 3, 2018.

In a moving tribute, Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey—who passed away in April 2018—is celebrated in a memorial created by David Best. Best is a long time contributor to Burning Man and was responsible for building the Temple from 2000 to 2004. Fittingly, the memorial was set aflame on Wednesday, just the way he would have wanted.

As we wait for more photos to go online once everyone returns from the desert, enjoy these early previews of the art of Burning Man 2018.

In these first glimpses of the 2018 Burning Man festival, we can see how BIG's The ORB makes a splash by hovering over the Playa.

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Thanks to over 100 volunteers, the spiraling Temple was erected and will remain a place of contemplation and reflection throughout the festival.

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Next up: see even more creative installations at this year's Burning Man.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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