Radical Horizons: The Art of Burning Man at Chatsworth was a large-scale exhibition in the publicly accessible 1000-acre park surrounding Chatsworth House, which saw 12 monumental sculptures from Burning Man, held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, on display in the UK for the first time from 9 April to 1 October 2022.

This ambitious sculpture exhibition was designed to celebrate a shared culture of making and collaboration. Burning Man is a unique event that usually takes place annually in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, USA, and Chatsworth worked with the Burning Man team and artists to bring its distinctive culture of possibility and creativity to the Derbyshire landscape.

The exhibition featured eight existing sculptures and four works that were built on site, three of which were constructed with the help of visitors and local community groups over the course of the year. This process mirrors that of Burning Man where teams of volunteers gather in the desert to create new artworks.

The sculptures include:

- Flybrary by Christina Sporrong
- Lodestar by Randy Polumbo
- Wings of Glory by Adrian Landon
- Murder Inc by Charles Gadeken
- Transmutation by Arturo Gonzalez & Maru Izaguirre
- Le Attrata by Long & Orion Fredericks
- Mum by Mr & Mrs Ferguson
- Wings of Wind (W.O.W) by Bryan Tedrick
- Stone 40 by Benjamin Langholz (engineering by Amihay Gonen)
- Coralee by Dana Albany & Flash Hopkins (participatory build)
- Elysian Towers by Shrine (participatory build)
- Relevé by Rebekah Waites (participatory build)

Free to access and enjoy for all, the exhibition also benefited from a dedicated engagement programme working with communities of people who generally find Chatsworth hard to access, offering activities designed to leave a legacy of creative possibility and new connections with people.

Kim Cook, Director of Creative Initiatives at Burning Man, said: “We’ve come to understand Chatsworth as a place to foster innovation, creativity, thoughtfulness and thinkers since its early days, something that is also central to our work and ethos at Burning Man. Our hope is that the art in the landscape will provoke joy, new ways of viewing, and be an invitation to make up your own story about meaning as you explore the beautiful expanse of Chatsworth.”

Chatsworth and Burning Man were introduced by Sotheby’s, who saw a synergy between the two organisations in their commitments to creativity and community.

About the Sculptures

Christina Sporrong: The Flybrary

About the artist
Christina Sporrong is an artist and metal sculptor from Taos, New Mexico. Born in Sweden and raised all over the world, she abandoned city life to live in the high mountain desert. Sporrong established Spitfire Forge, her own commercial blacksmithing and fabrication shop in 1996. She teaches national welding and blacksmithing workshops to women to empower them, as well as welding classes at the University of New Mexico.

About the work
The Flybrary is a 20-foot large steel head with book-like birds flying out of the top. The contemplative face is non-binary and a mixture of all races, colours, and creeds. The birds represent our thoughts, the eyes thoughtfully looking up towards them, with the idea that contemplation within a surreal setting and circumstance inspires new ways of seeing things, expanding one’s view from within to affect one’s view without.

Randy Polumbo: Lodestar

About the artist
Randy Polumbo lives and works in New York City and Joshua Tree, California as a visual artist, master builder, and sometime designer. A graduate of The Cooper Union School of Art, his work has been exhibited internationally and is in the collection of the Museum of Old and New Art, (MONA as well as numerous private collections. He has exhibited recently at Coachella, Bombay Beach Biennale, Bass Museum in Miami, Art Basel Miami Beach and Burning Man.

About the work
Lodestar is made from a World War II military jet that has blossomed into a contemplative flower and gathering place for guest ‘pollinators’. It has a curved steel substructure with steel legs and landing pads. It is decorated with hand blown glass flowers populated with mercury silvered plate glass, welded aluminium and LEDs.

Adrian Landon: Wings of Glory

About the artist
Born and raised in New York City, Adrian Landon began his journey as a sculptor at the Art Students League of NY in 2009 and developed his initial body of work in the New York area. It was there that he developed his first Mechanical Horse in 2014 and began to show his work nationally and internationally. He now resides in Reno, Nevada where he makes art at The Generator, a communal maker space. 

About the work
Unveiled at the 2019 Burning Man event in the Nevada desert, Wings of Glory is a sculpture of the mythological winged horse Pegasus named Nebula Rider. Designed using the Rhino 3D CAD system, then constructed over a three-month period with help of a large team of engineers, the sculpture has both a wingspan and height of approximately 35 feet. Made predominantly from laser-cut or welded steel and hand-hammered aluminium, it is powered by a single 2-hp motor that was obtained from a used 1980s-era golf cart. Along with a BMW rear differential, this allows the horse to slowly gallop in place, and to flap its wings.

Charles Gadeken: Murder, Inc.

About the artist
Charles Gadeken is an industrial artist who has worked in California’s Bay Area of the US for more than 25 years. His monumental interactive public artworks include commissions from Burning Man, Insomniac Events, Coachella, and the cities of Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Reno. He has exhibited internationally and been featured in the Wall Street Journal. 

About the work
Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, Murder, Inc. is a group (or “murder”) of 100 crows that represent the unrepentant and uninhibited power of nature. First installed at Burning Man in 2019, it was lit up at night and moved around to different locations. Each crow was individually drawn by artists around the world cut from mild steel.

Arturo Gonzalez & Maru Izaguirre: Transmutation

About the artist
Arturo Gonzales is an artist from Saltillo, Coahuila Mexico, who received a Burning Man Honorarium grant in 2019 and whose work has been exhibited internationally. Maru Izaguirre is an architect from Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico who collaborated on the design and realisation of the piece.

About the Work
Transmutation invites us to reflect on what would happen if we brought back extinct species through genetic cloning. In this exercise, the artists Arturo Gonzalez and Maru Izaguirre question whether it is ethical to play at being gods and whether this return of extinct species, such as the sabre-toothed tiger, will give rise to new beings created by man.

Transmutation is a larger-than-life manifestation of the brightly coloured Mexican folk art sculptures called Alebrijes. Alebrijes traditionally feature mythical creatures that combine elements of several different animals. The skeleton of this creature is made of fibreglass and metal, while the outside is adorned with traditional Mexican patterns in acrylic and fluorescent paint.

Margaret Long & Orion Fredericks: Le Attrata

About the artist
Margaret Long and Orion Fredericks are highly experienced and skilled artists who work with fire, showing both individually and as individual members of artist groups. They have created provocative shows and sophisticated flame effects, exploring the intersection of thermodynamics and art.

About the work
Le Attrata is a sculptural piece of art in which three moths, creating a unique and spectacular fire show. The moths perch atop three metal spires, the bases stretching across the ground to support richly finished wooden benches made from Douglas fir. Glowing chrysalises surround the sculpture, making an intriguing and welcoming space for everyone to enjoy.

Mr & Mrs Ferguson: Mum

About the artist
Husband and wife artists, Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson, (who married at Burning Man in 2011) create detailed, tactile, and often whimsical large-scale artworks, including the penny-covered grizzly bear, “Ursa Mater” (2017). 

About the work
Assembled in the artists’ studio in Hayward, California, with the help of a blacksmith, glassblower and engineer, Mum is Mr. & Mrs. Ferguson’s first UK ‘penny bear’ made from polystyrene, concrete and 55,000 US and Canadian pennies. The installation includes a cub nestled into it's mother’s side. The cub is at eye level which instantly draws visitors to the installation. The pennies inserted in concrete create the effect of a fur coat. 

Bryan Tedrick: Wings of Wind (W.O.W.)

About the artist
Bryan Tedrick is a California-based sculpture artist best known for his gigantic works fabricated from steel. He describes his practice as balancing space, mass, texture, colour, line, pattern, weight, and proportion.

About the work
Wings of Wind (W.O.W.) is a pair of steel wings with a 28-foot wingspan that rotate in the breeze. These wings have been made especially for the exhibition at Chatsworth based on a previous set built in 2008. They include a circular frame at the centre, proportional to human scale, that allows an adult to stand inside with arms outstretched to resemble Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.

Benjamin Langholz with engineering by Amihay Gonen: Stone 40

About the artist
Benjamin Langholz is a California native, currently living in Berlin. After studying Kinbaku (Japanese rope bondage) in Tokyo, he grew interested in shared experiences that can create ‘natural highs’. Since 2017, he has been making participatory art.

Amihay Gonen is an Israeli, Berlin-based engineer who specialises in interactive large-scale works.

About the work
Stone 40 is a site-specific installation of ‘floating’ stones, each weighing up to 600lbs, similar to a previous work by the artist but newly imagined for the Chatsworth landscape. The stones used in this work were gathered from a quarry close to Chatsworth and were chosen to match the stones used to construct the house as closely as possible. The steel structure supporting the stones was fabricated in Benjamin’s Berlin studio and required 180m of welding to complete. Visitors will be able to climb up the stones and explore the artwork.

Participatory builds

Dana Albany & Flash Hopkins: Coralee

Dana Albany is a prolific Bay Area artist who produces and fabricates large-scale sculptures, museum exhibits and interactive installations. Originating from a collage of recycled materials, Albany's work reclaims our scraps and discarded objects to re-imagine meaning. She has created and exhibited for Burning Man, the de Young Museum of Art and the Exploratorium, among others

About the work
Dana has worked with children from the local community to build an artwork on site at Chatsworth. It takes the form of a mermaid – inspired by the folklore of the Mermaid's Pool, situated just below Kinder Scout in the High Peaks – and has been built of found objects collected locally by the children and donated by those working on the Chatsworth estate.

The creation of Coralee

This film was commissioned by Sotheby's and made by Sara Moralioglu.

Shrine: Elysian Towers

About the artist
Brent Allen Spears, also known as Shrine, is an installation artist, painter, and muralist who has created more than sixty art installations all over the world and fifty murals in Los Angeles. He is an active artist on the festival scene as well as an ‘Artivist’ – creating murals for inner city schools and art workshops for autistic students

About the work
Shrine has worked with young adults from the Chatsworth community to create Elysian Towers, a unique artwork made from ‘trash’ and found objects sourced locally by the participants themselves and glass donated by Barnsley based Ardagh Glass. Using recycled glass and plastic bottles stacked into towers and held together with other found materials, the artwork has defined a new space in the landscape

Rebekah Waites: Relevé

About the artist
Rebekah Waites is a multi-award winning artist whose work has been experienced by thousands at Black Rock City and beyond. Working in installation and two-dimensional practice, she is currently focused on exploring past relationships and female gender roles in society through her art.

About the work
Relevé was an art installation inspired by the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, a Bronze Age archaeological site located near Chatsworth House. As folklore has it, nine ladies were caught dancing at that location and were turned into stone for dancing on the Sabbath. Relevé not only paid homage to the nine ladies, but also celebrated the rebellious spirit of dance, music and art. Nine twisted structures made of wood and intricately decorated with a rope and string laced facade, dance around one another. The artwork was created with youth volunteers and schoolchildren from the local community.

Celebratory Burn Event
Given this sculpture's celebratory spirit, it was only appropriate that Relevé was chosen to be set alight at a celebratory burn event marking the 'letting go' of the exhibition; a tradition set by the Burning Man event held in Nevada.

Radical Horizons Celebratory Burn Event, 1 October 2022 - image credit Frances Milburn Photography

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