Marco Cochrane’s Truth is Beauty

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

An image of a sculpture piece of a woman stretching her arms out inside the Renwick Gallery.

Marco Cochrane, Truth is Beauty, 2017. Photo by Ron Blunt. 

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

In 2007, Marco Cochrane’s first trip to Burning Man inspired him to enlarge his work to monumental proportions. Together with his wife and partner, Julia Whitelaw, and with the help of dozens of volunteers (the Bliss Crew), he embarked on a series of three colossal sculptures of singer and dancer Deja Solis for the playa—Bliss Dance (2010), Truth is Beauty (2013), and R-Evolution (2015), collectively known as The Bliss Project. For each sculpture, Solis chose her own pose and expression. Haunted by the abduction and sexual assault of a childhood friend, Cochrane intends the project to bring attention to the issue of violence against women, demystifying the female body and portraying the “feminine energy and power that results when women feel free and safe.” Around the base of the Truth is Beauty installation this question appears in multiple languages: "What Would The World Be Like If Women Were Safe?"

Cochrane first sculpts his pieces by hand before constructing them from steel triangles at grand proportions. Built using a mold of the original clay sculpture, the version of Truth Is Beauty in the gallery is one-third the size of the fifty-five-foot tall figure that appeared at Burning Man in 2013.

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, June 7, 2018, “Truth Is Beauty

Meet the Artist Video