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Burning Man: Art in the Desertby A Leo Nash
Synopses & Reviews
Set on 700 acres of rolling farm hills in Manchester, Tennessee, Bonnaroo is a four-day music and camping festival that draws in over 80,000 fans every summer. Featuring over 120 musical performances, along with comedy, cinema, sustainability workshops, and more, the grounds are converted into a virtual city of music and art. With over 200 photographs of some of the most legendary musical acts of all time, and numerous personal contributions by musicians and patrons, Bonnaroo: What, Which, This, That, The Other celebrates 10 years of this beloved music festival and the impact it has made on American culture. Whether fans of the Dave Matthews Band, Eminem, Radiohead, or Metallica, all music lovers unite to experience the magic of Bonnaroo.
Praise for Bonnaroo:"How do you get 80,000 fans to spend four days camping in the Tennessee sun? By offering the kind of moments this coffee-table photo book captures." and#8212;Rolling Stone
"Nash's understated black and white photography gives an unexpected and intimate glimpse into Burning Man, the art-centric festival-community ('essentially a temporary city... of up to forty-thousand people') erected on an isolated stretch of Nevada desert every fall. Though it's known as much for hedonistic carousing as for art (if not moreso), Nash has been sleeping through the all-night parties for more than a decade so he can rise early and shoot artwork in the desert's morning light. More than a hundred of his stripped-down images are collected here, a strange and beautiful catalog of the structures, vehicles, monuments and performances dreamed up in the middle of nowhere. Writer and psychonaut Daniel Pinchbeck provides a brief introduction, but Nash's images are better complemented by his own plainspoken commentary, which focuses on the hard realities of putting on an event of Burning Man's magnitude: hazardous road trips, labor-intensive construction, infrastructure management, crowd control and the final clean up. Nash's singular, idiosyncratic perspective proves charming and frank; for instance, Nash isn't shy about tensions within the community (mainly between those who come early to build and latecomers who take the effort for granted). It's easy to imagine a lively collaborative volume on the festival, but by keeping things restrained, Nash provides a personal tour that gets to the heart of the spectacle." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Attendees at the yearly Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert erect a temporary city where partiers, performers, and artists mingle in numbers recently exceeding 40,000. The festival's signature large artistic structures, burnable sculptures, and "art cars" are the subject of Nash's 14 years worth of b&w Burning Man photographs. About 150 images are accompanied by text describing the inspiration for and experience of the art, as well as the feats of erecting, breaking down, and transporting each piece. Oversize: 11.75x8.5". Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
For one week in August the Burning Man Festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert brings people together in a spirit of self-reliance and creativity. Art has become the defining feature of Burning Man, as the festival continues to be a testing ground for a growing circle of artists seeking engaged audiences. Their most compelling works are large-scale constructions that are burned at the end of the festival, and radically altered vehicles, or “art cars.”
Art at Burning Man, like the experience of being there itself, is a way of being outside routine existence: People return home rejuvenated and inspired to seek ways to express the spirit of the festival in their everyday lives. For more than a decade, A. Leo Nash has been creating a photographic document of this work, and in his photographs we see the wellspring of a new art movement.
About the Author
Holly George-Warren is former editorial director for Rolling Stone Press and has published numerous books on music, including The Road to Woodstock. She lives in upstate New York.
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