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Video: Nora Atkinson | Why Art Thrives at Burning Man

Craft curator Nora Atkinson takes us on a trip to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to see the beautifully designed and participatory art of Burning Man, revealing how she discovered there what’s often missing from museums: curiosity and engagement. “What is art for in our contemporary world if not this?” she asks.

Running time: 10 minutes

Email subscribers may click on the title of this post to watch the video.

Nora Atkinson is the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum Washington, D.C. As she writes, “I was born and raised in the Northwest, and I find my perspective heavily influenced by its laid-back, pioneering spirit. After earning my MA from the University of Washington, I intended to curate art, but fell into the unusual specialty of craft, which appeals to me as a way of living differently in the modern world that tells us something about being human; I continue to be fascinated by the place of the handmade in our increasingly digital age.

“In 2014, after eight years at Bellevue Arts Museum, I moved to DC to join the Renwick Gallery. I attended my first Burning Man in 2017 as research for my exhibition ‘No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man,’ which explores the event as a creative laboratory and one of the most important cultural movements of our time. As a curator, I tell stories through objects, and I want to teach people to approach the world with curious eyes and find the magic around them. My work is as much about inspiring people as transmitting knowledge.”

FoldHaus Art Collective’s Shrumen Lumen

2 comments on “Video: Nora Atkinson | Why Art Thrives at Burning Man

  1. Reese E. Forbes
    August 30, 2020

    I would have been there now, my 8th year in the dust. Of the many events, conventions, meetings, etc. which have been canceled because of COVID, I will miss Burning Man the most.

    Liked by 1 person

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