2014 Burning Man Festival
With the wholesale closure of all events and festivals after February of 2020, I pulled this post forward from the Burning Man Festival in 2014. The burning of Embrace was spectacular, and a set of images that I have returned to over the years — ML Hilton
Burning Man 2014, the hauntingly beautiful sculpture Embrace is ceremoniously burned. That year, I did not get to stay for the finale of The Man burning on Labor Day. We had an earthquake at my house in Napa that created a lot of cracks, some water damage from a broken pipe and glass everywhere. I left the festival early to have a couple of days at the end of my vacation to clean up.
Of the sculptures that I was able to watch burn, Embrace was the most beautiful and impactful. The art was created to be a “celebration of all relationships” and you could either image the relationship in ashes or consumed by passion. It was breathtaking.
We walked over to the ceremony at pre-dawn, and waited as the sun rose and the fire caught, first drifting as smoke from the eyes of the imposing artwork.
Prior to the burn, festival goers could ascend stairs inside of each head, reaching more than 5 stories high.
According to this story, in Business Insider, Embrace was “made from 160,000 lbs of wood,” and cost more than $266,000 to build. The “72-foot-tall wooden cathedral-like sculpture (was) on the same scale as the Statue of Liberty.”