The museum is currently hosting the exhibit “A Tribe of Artists: Costumes and Culture of Burning Man,” compiled by the Nevada Arts Council. The exhibit features Nelson’s work including 14 life-sized photographs and three mannequins.
For the past 20 years during the week prior to Labor Day, the Black Rock Desert is transformed into the celebrated Burning Man Art Festival and its temporary community. Drawing more than 50,000 participants from around the world, the Burning Man Festival is known for its fire, sculptures, theme camps and unusually attired participants. The photos are primarily shot in a portable, tent-like photographic studio that he transports and constructs on the playa where Burning Man takes place. Dealing with overwhelming dust storms, heat and extremely loud art cars, Nelson has photographed more than 200 participants since he started the project in 2005. From these photos emerged this unconventional show.
Nelson has been a professional photographer for more than 30 years having started his career in the Bay Area. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and has widely exhibited throughout the United States. Nelson has published a number of books, including “Les Anges Nus” in 2000 that deals with illuminating images of mythical creatures. He has been going to Burning Man for 10 years and started his own theme camp, Mohammed’s Mini Martini and Erotica Camp, six years ago where he constructs and deconstructs his temporary photo booth every year.
The Sparks Heritage Museum is located at 814 Victorian Ave. Museum Admission is $5 for adults, and members and children 12 and under are free. Hours are Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Call 355-1144 for details.