Five Ton Crane Arts Collective’s Capitol Theater

Meet the Artists of No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

An image of capitol theater, a portable movie theater inside the Renwick Gallery.

Five Ton Crane Arts Collective, Capitol Theater, 2018. Photo by Ron Blunt.

On view from March 30, 2018 to September 16, 2018

Founded by Sean Orlando, David Shulman, and Dr. Alan Rorie in 2007, Five Ton Crane is a team of more than 150 artists and innovators whose successes may be measured by the rewards of collaboration. By coming together, the artists of Five Ton Crane are able to take on more ambitious projects than they could individually, pooling resources, interests, and talent to create bigger, better, and bolder art, while providing a supportive network of skill sharing that feeds the Burning Man creative community.

Over the years, the combined talents of Five Ton Crane have given rise to a number of well-loved installations on playa, including the Raygun Gothic Rocketship (2009), a forty-foot tall spacecraft which now permanently resides at the Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver, Colorado; the Nautilus Art Car (2011), a land-based “undersea” mutant vehicle created in collaboration with Christopher Bently; and Storied Haven (2015), led by Bree Hylkema, “an enchanted home inside of a grand boot,” recently exhibited at the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk, Virginia. All of these are monumental, immersive pieces that originated with an appreciation for the importance of a boundless imagination and a shared story.

Commissioned for this exhibition, Capitol Theater is Five Ton Crane’s latest large-scale work of art; it is a 1920s-30s art deco movie theater on wheels, replete with bespoke silent films. Like all of Five Ton Crane’spieces, it has been conceived, designed, and fabricated with audience interaction and playfulness in mind, and displays a focus on craftsmanship down to the smallest detail.

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.