Art Burn Begins

The scene is set for Art Burn.

I arrived at Art Burn in the Wynwood section of Miami with a burning desire to see things go up in flames. As a I approached the venue, I spotted a tee-pee of art pitched at the corner of Las Tias’ parking lot.

Celso fans the flames.

Celso fans the flames.

A BBQ grill was neatly centered on a metal plate, which was slapped on the asphalt. The scene was framed by two black tiki torches that made it all look like some medieval ritual or a lost episode of “Survivor.”

Some spectators confessed to me that they expected a ginormous beach bonfire but I had few expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised. The mood was jovial and event organizer Celso approached the grill with the seriousness of someone who didn’t want to burn the block down.

Deeker & Skewville is offered up to the art gods.

Deeker & Skewville is offered up to the art gods.

I spotted art bloggers C-Monster, Sharon Butler, Joanne Mattera, and CocoLopez at the scene and artists William Powhida, Jen Dalton, Ellis G, Hargo (of Cash for Warhols/Banksy fame) and others also basking in the glow of burning art.

The fumes immediately felt toxic and a plume of black smoke shot into the sky and made us all step back. What we discovered that day was that art burns slowly, very very slowly.

After watching works by Skewville, Deeker, and others go up in flames, Ellis G took to the stage to demonstrate his unique brand of flammable graffiti (the graff, the burn), it provided the wow we were all waiting for.

It was a great feeling after a few days of art fairs to see art burn, it felt cleansing and cathartic, even if just for a moment.

That night I assume the art gods were happy for the gifts they were offered but I only hope they like street art.

A Stikman burns in the night.

A Stikman burns in the night.

View my photos from the event here.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

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