David Best

An image of David Best's Temple inside the Grand Salon at the Renwick Gallery.

David Best, Temple, 2018. Photo by Ron Blunt.

Since 2000, David Best has designed and coordinated the construction of approximately half of the Burning Man temples. Established as sacred spaces of reflection and prayer, all of these have been massive, incredibly intricate, wooden structures. During the week of Burning Man, the Temples are adorned by participants with memorials and inscriptions. The structure is burned in a cathartic ritual to inspire healing and community. Since 2005, Best has also built similarly ephemeral temples in public spaces outside of Burning Man, within the United States and in countries such as Ireland and Nepal. Committed to the values of inclusion and participation, he creates opportunities for anyone who wants to take part in his projects, augmenting a core group of volunteers known as the Temple Crew with members of each community where he works.

Best received a B.F.A. from the College of Marin and an M.F.A. in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute; his paintings, sculptures, collages, art cars, and ceramics can be found in many distinguished public and private collections. He is, however, best-known as the Temple Builder at Burning Man.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man brings the large-scale, participatory work from this desert gathering to the nation’s capital for the first time. The exhibition takes over the entire Renwick Gallery building and surrounding Golden Triangle neighborhood, bringing alive the maker culture and creative spirit of this cultural movement.

On the Blog

Eye Level, April 20, 2018, “The Renwick's (David) Best Temple
Eye Level, March 27, 2018, “Sneak Peek: Burning Man's Temple at the Renwick

Meet the Artist Videos