Burning Man names 2016 theme as Da Vinci’s Workshop

Burning Man has announced that its 2016 art theme will be inspired by the Italian Renaissance of the middle fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, when an historic convergence of inspired artistry, technical innovation and enlightened patronage launched Europe out of the dark ages and into modernity. 

“Our story will focus on the republic of Florence, for it was here, in a city-state of about the same size and population as Black Rock City, that humanist ideals, a rediscovery of science, and funding from a newly moneyed class of entrepreneurs fueled a revolutionary cultural movement that redefined Western civilization,” said an official blog post by Larry Harvey and Stuart Mangrum. “Five centuries later, we will attempt to recreate this potent social alchemy by combining Burning Man art, maker culture and creative philanthropy to make Black Rock City the epicenter of a new renaissance.”

Burning Man 2016 Leonardo Da Vinci's Workshop 615

There was a mixed response to the theme by some blog commenters. Sandstorm felt the theme and its focus on “enlightened patronage” followed a worrying trend that sees rich people increasingly catered for at the event: “Thank you Larry for taking a beautiful event centered on the creativity of the individual and transforming it into yet another celebration of money.”

Another commentator pointed out that referring to the artist and inventor as “da Vinci” is incorrect. “I’m SO disappointed that you fell into the culturally-entrenched-but-still-stupid practice of referring to him as ‘da Vinci’!” said Whitfield. “His name was Leonardo. That’s it. Leonardo. He was *from* Vinci. To refer to him as ‘da Vinci’ is to refer to anyone from the city of Vinci.”

However, Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey countered that “Leonardo’s Workshop” was a trademarked property; applying to “areas of endeavor that involve the arts and public presentation” and said Burning Man had decided not to risk a lawsuit.

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