Jewelry of Burning Man comes to Bellevue in Playa Made

September 17, 2019
Images: Thomas Mann, Pendant, 2014; Participants at the Necklace Factory; Kenn Kushner, Pendant, 2015. Photos: George Post.

September 17, 2019
Contact: Emilie Smith
Phone: 425.519.0755
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Playa Made: The Jewelry of Burning Man is on view at Bellevue Arts Museum January 24 – June 14, 2020

Bellevue, WA—Playa Made: The Jewelry of Burning Man, which opens at BAM on January 24, 2020, offers an up-close look at the portable and personal works of art created for and during the Burning Man event.

Playa Made includes 200 pieces by over 60 artists, representing twenty-five years of Black Rock City history. Featured works range from handmade pieces by professional jewelers, such as Thomas Mann and Kenn Kushner, to pieces designed by burners and manufactured commercially. These will be accompanied in the gallery by George Post’s photography of Black Rock City.

Since 1986, the Burning Man event has drawn tens of thousands of makers to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for a week of artmaking, community building, and radical self-expression. Artists create large-scale and interactive works, as well as portable and personal works of art for gifting and exchange.

Jewelry is an integral part of the Burning Man event and is often used to foster personal connections. The creative and communal spirit, along with the symbols of Burning Man, are finely crafted into pressed glass coins, lakebed-clay charms, intricate necklaces, and other pieces of jewelry—all given freely during the event.

This exhibition is curated by Christine Kristen, a.k.a. LadyBee, and features the remarkable collection of jewelry that she collected at Burning Man over the past twenty-five years.

Playa Made: The Jewelry of Burning Man was originally curated by Christine Kristen, a.k.a. LadyBee, for the Fuller Craft Museum. The local presentation is curated by Bellevue Arts Museum.  Media sponsor: KCTS 9. In-kind support from Seattle SignShop. 



Bellevue Arts Museum provides a public forum for the community to contemplate, appreciate, and discuss visual culture. We work with audiences, artists, makers, and designers to understand our shared experience of the world.