Photograph taken by Karen Kuehn of Black Rock City LLC Founders, from left: Will Roger Peterson, Crimson Rose, Michael Mikel, Larry Harvey, Harley K. Dubois, and Marian Goodell in 2013. Image courtesy of Burning Man Project.

The  story of how a legendary Nevada gathering evolved through collaborative ritual from humble countercultural roots on San Francisco’s Baker Beach into the world-famous desert convergence it is today comes together in “City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man.” Never-before-seen photographs, artifacts, journals, sketches, and notebooks reveal how this temporary experimental desert city came to be, and how it continues to evolve.

Photograph by Jerry James of the first Man on Baker Beach in 1986. Collection of Nevada Museum of Art Center for Art + Environment Archive Collections. Gift of Jerry James.

Organized by the Nevada Museum of Art, many items included are drawn from the archive collections of the Museum’s Center for Art + Environment. City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man opens July 1 and remains on view through Jan. 7, 2018 at the Nevada Museum of Art in downtown Reno. In the spring of 2018, the show will travel to the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC.


“This exhibition only begins to unravel the story of Burning Man,” said Ann M. Wolfe, Andrea and John C. Deane Family Senior Curator and Deputy Director at the Nevada Museum of Art. “Through City of Dust, the Nevada Museum of Art hopes not only to shine a light on this vibrant, participatory community, but also to illustrate how its radically experimental nature connects to the desert, and to the region of the Greater West.”Borrowing methods from anthropology and archaeology, City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man relies on primary source materials, such as archives, artifacts, journals, sketches and notebooks. These historical items trace the civic growth and development of Burning Man’s temporary city that arises annually in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The exhibition also acknowledges Burning Man’s global impact and touches on what the future may hold for the recently-established Burning Man Project.

To see the complete programming lineup for City of Dust, please visit

‘City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man’
July 1 – Jan. 7, 2018
Nevada Museum of Art
160 West Liberty Street
Reno, NV 89501, ( 775) 329-3333

First Thursday Burning Man Celebration
July 6  from 5 – 7 p.m.
Preview your playa persona, enjoy live music by Dingo Weasel, and view the Nautilus Submarine, 5:04, and Truck and Flux art cars.
$10 General
FREE Museum members

Members’ Premiere:
City of Dust and Art + Environment Exhibitions
Oct. 19 from 5 – 9 p.m.
The Special 2, a throwback 1980s rap group featuring Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers) and Micah James, and other surprises featuring the creative citizenry of Black Rock City, await.
FREE Museum members

View From the Playa: Photographs by Eleanor Preger
A decade ago, Eleanor Preger never imagined herself taking photographs at Burning Man. Highlights of this Incline Village-based photographer’s work will be on view in the Nightingale Sky Room.

Aerial photograph of Black Rock City taken by an unknown photographer, 1996. Collection of Nevada Museum of Art Center for Art + Environment Archive Collections, Gift of Michael Mikel.