For over a century, a central basis of art has been what critic Robert Hughes termed “the shock of the new.” Modern art has taught its followers to yearn for subversion and disruption, the undermining of anything they believe an artwork to be: Marcel Duchamp’s upside-down urinal, Andy Warhol’s eight-hour film of the Empire State Building, Jackson Pollock’s dismissal of any figure-ground relationship by splattering paint directly on the canvas. The dismay they caused quickly turned to admiration and accolades.
The mainstream art world tends to celebrate work that is oblique in its meaning.
Burning Man has created something like a parallel art world. Over the years, I have watched many artists find their place at the event and build careers through their relationship to it. Kate Raudenbush’s Helios (2016) drew inspiration from the theme of