Burning Man

Black Rock City, Nv

(Installation Collaboration)

Day two: Temple Build

“When I was first asked to collaborate on a temple to the divine feminine centering around the honey bee and her hive at Burning Man, all I had to hear was Burning Man and I was in. 

This festival in Black Rock City… an 80,000 person ‘city’ that is built and disappears without a trace in a matter of weeks… is something I never thought I would do. But I had seen the exhibit at the Renwick Gallery in DC about it and have had the image of the chapel tilted on its side in my mind for a year.  

I had no idea what would unfold in the dusty desert for The Good of the Hive. But anyone who has followed along with the last 25 murals and 5250 bees knows this journey has been built on leaps into the unknown. All I knew was that this was potential for a unique view of what the bees mean to different people. The bee, for me, is a symbol and a muse. But like a painting, there is what I see and then there are thousands of other interpretations. That is what enticed me about this project.

The journey started like one of those old movies where people race across the country to get there. It felt like chaos. Everyone was two days late and everything seemed like it was rushed. I didn’t tell Zach, but I wasn’t even sure we had tickets until we got to the counter at Will Call at the festival. I even got a cold… and I never get colds. It all felt like too much. I had painted for 8 weeks non-stop in 95 degree heat leading up to this and had gone straight from one mural to the next with zero time for recuperation. Four days to rest and pack for Burning Man at home was not enough.  Luckily, Zach and I had attended several of the Bee Divine Hive Temple’s zoom calls and heard the wisdom of past burners. Zach did most of the research about gear, goggles for dust storms, tents (I’ve not gone camping since I was 14). 

But as with so much of this madcap, profound adventure that is The Good of the Hive, I knew there was something in that desert that was worth some sleepless nights and spending some money we didn’t have to go experience… and after 37 hours of driving in a cargo van… after the initiatory naked hug and roll in the sand with the greeters, this amazing team of collaborators we had only just met spent several hours building our camp and then, when the air cooled, we erected the walls of a tiny temple in the desert together." - Matt