Arts and Theatre

Renwick Gallery Puts on First-Ever Outdoor Exhibition with Art of Burning Man

The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in collaboration with the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) and with support from Lyft, is bringing artworks from the legendary desert event Burning Man to the streets and parks of Washington, D.C.’s central business district for the first time. No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick presents six public art installations by noted Burning Man artists. The unique partnership marks the first time the Renwick Gallery will expand beyond its walls into the surrounding Golden Triangle neighborhood. The project is an outdoor extension of the Renwick Gallery’s building-wide exhibition No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, which will feature large-scale, immersive artworks that are the hallmark of the annual celebration in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, an influential phenomenon in contemporary art and a cultural movement.

The exhibition will be on view from March 30, 2018 through January 21, 2019, with the outdoor portion on display through December 2018. Nora Atkinson, the museum’s Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, curated the exhibition and collaborated with the Golden Triangle BID on the outdoor artwork selections. The BID worked with the artists and neighborhood stakeholders to produce the outdoor extension. The museum and the BID also collaborated with the Burning Man Project, the nonprofit organization responsible for producing the annual Burning Man event and for facilitating and extending the culture that has issued from Burning Man into the wider world. “No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick will enliven key streets and parks in the Golden Triangle, the heart of D.C.’s central business district,” said Leona Agouridis, Executive Director of the BID. “Public art is a dynamic component of the Golden Triangle’s identity, enriching public space for nearly 90,000 daily workers, and millions of residents and visitors to our neighborhood.  We’re thrilled to collaborate with the Renwick on this first-ever outdoor extension and are grateful to our friends at Lyft for their generous support.”

The six installations include sculptures on Pennsylvania Ave. west of the White House and major corridors such as Connecticut Ave. Jack Champion’s giant bronze crows will inhabit Murrow Park at Pennsylvania Ave. and 18th St, N.W., while Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson’s “Ursa Major,” a 14-foot-tall bear sculpture crafted from 170,000 shining pennies, will reside at 19th and I Sts, N.W. HYBYCOZO’s (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu) perforated steel sculpture entitled “Golden Spike,” will light up Connecticut Ave. at K St, N.W., and Laura Kimpton’s 20-foot-long steel “XOXO” installation, made together with Jeff Schomberg, will meet daily commuters at the Farragut West Metro station entrance at 18th and I Sts., N.W. Mischell Riley’s five-ton cast cement bust, “Maya’s Mind,” pays homage to Maya Angelou and will be installed on 17th St. between H and I Sts., N.W., and Kate Raudenbush’s luminous 23-foot tall laser cut steel sculpture, “Future’s Past,” will captivate passersby near Monroe Park, at Pennsylvania Ave. and 21st St., N.W.

The Renwick Gallery and the Golden Triangle BID will present related programming around the neighborhood to further engage audiences with the art and spirit of Burning Man. This will include walking tours along with other participatory and community activities. Details will be available in the spring online at americanart.si.edu/nospectators and goldentriangledc.com/initiative/beyond-the-renwick/. A map will be provided at the Renwick and online for self-guided tours of the outdoor installations.

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