Who Wore it Better? Burning Man Dresses up the Renwick

Libby Weiler
IT Specialist - External Affairs and Digital Strategies
March 22, 2018
A detail of one of Gelareh Alam's costumes at the Renwick Gallery.

Cocoon Gown, Gelareh Alam with Sophia Constance (Lyraphic), molded leather, woven leather, silk, crystals and beads, 2017; Smithsonian American Art Museum, photo by Libby Weiler 

In addition to the large-scale artworks currently being installed at No Spectators: The Art of Burning Manopening at the Renwick Gallery of Art on March 30, the exhibition features hand-made jewelry and clothing such as Iranian-born designer, Gelareh Alam's "warrior chic," Cocoon Gown, created with Sophia Constance (Lyraphic) and Nagana Brass Gown with custom metal work by Jungle Tribe. At Burning Man, traditional styles of dress are eschewed in favor of clothing inspired by sources as varied as burlesque, Carnival, Day of the Dead, steampunk, and rave culture. "The act of transformation," Alam has said, "is an act of empowerment."

This is a behind the scene image of a costume being unpacked at the Renwick Gallery.


A behind the scenes shot of workers putting the costume on a mannequin


A photograph of two costumes for Burning Man at the Renwick Gallery.

(left) Nagana Brass Gown, Gelareh Alam, hand-cut leather and custom metal work by Jungle Tribe, 2014; (Headpiece) The Crown of Nagini, Caley Johnson (“Miss G”), foam, studs, chain, and paint, 2018. (right) Cocoon Gown, Gelareh Alam and Sophia Constance (Lyraphic) molded leather, woven leather, silk, crystals and beads, 2017. Smithsonian American Art Museum, photo by Libby Weiler.


The exhibition opens March 30. Learn more about the artists and artworks featured inNo Spectators: The Art of Burning Man.

Related blog posts: Sneak Peek: Burning Man Unfolds at the RenwickHere Be DragonsFeel the Burn: the Art of Burning Man Comes to the Renwick in March



Recent Posts

Sculpture of a woman. Massive antlers on her head cradle a delicate, translucent adult figure in a fetal position, like a creature preparing to emerge from its cocoon. Scattered on the ground below are antlers.
Exploring the personal transformation reflected in her artwork Rouse.
An art conservator holds a vacuum nozzle on a piece of artwork.
A peek into the world of conservation and the meticulous care of James Hampton’s The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly.
Photo Anna Nielsen
Anna Nielsen
Conservation Program Coordinator
Eliza Macdonald
Katya Zinsli
Detail of illustrated portrait of Emma Amos.
Painter, printmaker, and textile artist Emma Amos created colorful multi-media works that explore themes of identity.