Bringing the playa to Oakland’s runway

28 Jul

I have several heavy, substantive posts that I really want to get to this week, but those will have to wait until at least tomorrow. I didn’t think I’d get to write anything this evening because of the long council meeting, but you’re in luck, since they’re discussing the Army Base yet again, and I doubt there’s anything new that can be said. I just hope they make a decision tonight. (But if you do want to hear more about the Army Base, check out the entertaining tweets from V Smoothe and dto510.)

So while I have the meeting on mute (one of the joys of watching from home instead of at City Hall), I thought I’d discuss a not so heavy topic. Last Wednesday, I went to the Oakland Airport to fly to LA. As you might know from my previous posts on this subject, one of my favorite features of the Southwest terminal is the art. Unless I’m rushing to catch a flight, I usually walk slowly through the terminal and stop to look more closely at the most interesting art.

I had plenty of time last week so as I walked past the Pyramid bar, I looked to my left to see if a new exhibit had been installed. To my dismay, the wall was entirely empty! At first, I thought hopefully that maybe they were in between exhibits, and by the time I returned in August for another flight, they’d surely have some new art up.

But over the past week, I’ve thought about it some more and have become less hopeful. Maybe the Oakland Museum of California no longer has the funding for the exhibits. Or maybe the Oakland Museum can’t maintain an exhibit during its renovation, which will close the museum from August 23rd through May 2010. Or maybe the Port thinks the Oakland Museum exhibits aren’t good enough so they’re spending half a billion on a fancy exhibit from Paris (ok, ok, that wasn’t a serious thought, but I couldn’t resist).

I looked around online a bit and couldn’t find an explanation so if you have one, I’d love to hear it. But if the Oakland Airport is looking for a new exhibit, I’ve found it:

reno airport bm exhibit

reno airport bm exhibit tickets

The above images, via the Black Rock Arts Foundation blog, depict “From Playa to Runway – The Art of Burning Man,” which air travelers can view at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport through September 14th. This exhibit is full of gorgeous photos and interesting artifacts from Black Rock City. There are also a couple of interactive sculptures featured.

Now it makes tons of sense for this exhibit to be unveiled at Reno’s airport, the closest airport to Burning Man and one through which so many Burners travel. And it makes just as much sense for Oakland to be its second stop because so much Burning Man art is created here and so many Oaklanders attend Burning Man year after year. So if Oakland Airport is looking for its next exhibit, this should be it.

5 Responses to “Bringing the playa to Oakland’s runway”

  1. Cherie Newell July 29, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    Hello. I am writing to respond to your query about where the art is at Oakland International Airport. There is an explanation!

    I manage the rotational exhibit program at the airport on behalf of Oakland Museum of California. We are indeed still producing exhibits in two locations at the airport. You’ll find us in Terminal 1 just prior to security checkpoint. We also have space in the Connecting Walkway between the two terminals.

    The area in the Southwest Terminal that you are referring to is being moved due to some new concessions coming in. Our new exhibition cases are currently being built and will be moved into the concourse at the end of August.

    Our current exhibit–Oakland Onstage!–just closed last Friday so right now, there aren’t exhibits on display. But look for us after August 28th when we’ll be featuring “Evolution of Print: The Artists of Kala” in all three locations.

    Also, a note about our website. The Oakland Museum of California is about to launch a brand new website. When it comes online, all of our exhibition listings will be current and will include lots of photos of the off site exhibitions.

    Finally, a big thanks for your support of the airport exhibit program. We love seeing our exhibits noted on your blog!

    • Becks July 29, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

      Cherie – thanks for the thorough explanation. I’m glad to hear the exhibits will be continuing through the museum’s temporary closure. I look forward to the new exhibit. I do hope you’ll look into the Burning Man exhibit, either for the airport or for the museum. Though Burning Man takes place in Nevada, it was started in the Bay Area and thousands of California residents attend every year. It seems like a perfect exhibit to be displayed in Oakland.

  2. Cherie Newell July 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    Thanks for suggestion! I’ll check out the link you provided.

    • Maria Partridge July 31, 2009 at 11:08 am #

      We would LOVE to have this exhibit come your way…I curated the exhibit and Crimson Rose, Board Member of both Burning Man and BRAF, who lives in Oakland provided many of the ARTifacts and arranged them in the cases. I am sure there would/could be smaller interactive sculptures available by some of our artists in the Bay Area as well. The show in Reno comes down Sept 15 or so…it will then go back to all of the different photographers unless there is a place for it all to go together…

  3. Cherie Newell July 31, 2009 at 1:20 pm #

    Maria, I’d be happy to speak with you further. Can I contact you at Black Rock Arts Foundation?

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