A year ago, in the middle of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, Brooklyn artist Mike Ross achieved rock-star status at Burning Man. He and his volunteer crew, after months of preparation, hoisted two 18-wheel fuel trucks into the air—welded together with 50,000 pounds of steel—and rigged them vertically into a base plate in the ground. The result was Big Rig Jig, an enormous 42-foot-high sculpture that dwarfed the other art at the festival and managed to look tough as nails and poetic at the same time.
The New York Times, Wired, and CBS covered Big Rig Jig. Burners showered Ross with accolades, and he returned the favor by letting them climb all over—and up inside—the trucks. His crew was greeted throughout the huge desert encampment with free beer, free food, and complimentary Ecstasy tablets.
As 50,000 or more people flock to the desert this week to see the latest creations on display at the 2008 festival, one wonders: What happens to these artists and their artwork after Burning Man? The answer: Ross and other big-sculpture artists have been parlaying their desert glory into mainstream sculpture gigs at museums, public buildings, and city parks. But there’s been a catch: While anything goes for these artists at Burning Man, back in the real world, things get much trickier.
The full story at the VILLAGE VOICE