Burning Man Theme

Every year since 1995 Larry Harvey announced an art theme to guide the focus of each years event.  2019’s theme was the first to be decided by the Burning Man organization after Harvey passed away.  All theme poster images on this page can be purchased through the marketplace on burningman.org

Burning Man Theme 2019

Burning Man 2019 theme held August 25 to September 2, 2018 was Metamorphoses.

2019 Burning Man Theme 2019

2019 Metamorphoses Theme Poster

That time of year has arrived when Burning Man announces its theme for the coming year, and burners from all over the world prepare to make the trek to Black Rock City, Nevada. This year, this pilgrimage will be especially self-conscious of its pseudo-ritualistic significance because in 2019 the theme of the festival of raw humanity is Metamorphoses.

It appears the organizers are trying to tap into the rising social consciousness surrounding what it means to have a religious faith, practice certain rites, and how those rites can both divide but also (more importantly) draw people together. On their site they quote Krista Tippet, who claims that this rising consciousness “is not leading to the decline of spiritual life but its revival.”

If you plan to travel out to be a burningman in 2019, you can expect to find a temple constructed at the epicenter of all the events. Don’t think that the organizers are trying to say that they have created some kind of religious function here. They state that what they are concerned with, as far as ritual goes, is the “play” that is inherently part of it. The concern here is with the physical release brought about by ritual.

In the tradition of Burning Man, the center effigy (usually the wooden statue of a man) is torched at the end of the event every year. The Man that stands at the middle, and its burning, is an example of how the burners in attendance refuse to be subjects to The Man that requires individuals to get jobs, make money, and be “contributing members of society.” This year, when the temple goes up in flames, will this be representative of a refusal to categorize faith within the bounds of organized religion?

Even if this is the message in the final burning, the organizers are also recognizing the ritualistic core of the festival, and they are showing due respect to this tradition of ritual in the history of humanity. Lots of seasoned burners are upset about the center defining piece of architecture being a temple rather than the usual effigy of a man. It sounds like the tradition is getting close to religious zealotry. By Changing this fixed ritual, it is allowing the concentration to return to the physical experience so important to the organizers.

Regardless of your history or understanding of Burning Man, Radical Ritual should be a good year worthy of setting a travel date for. Mark your calendars for August 25 – September 2, 2018 to enter the embark on a journey that will almost certainly be life changing. There are few other chances to be immersed in anarchic ritual.

Past Art Theme Posters 2010-2018

2018 Burning Man Theme

2018 I, Robot Theme Poster

2017 Burning Man Theme

2017 Radical Ritual Theme Poster

2016 Burning Man Theme

2016 DaVinci’s Workshop Theme Poster

2014 Burning Man Theme

2014 Caravansary Theme Poster

2013 Burning Man Theme

2013 Cargo Cult Theme Poster

2012 Burning Man Theme

2012 Fertility 2.0 Theme Poster

2011 Burning Man Theme

2011 Rites Of Passage Theme Poster

2010 Burning Man Theme

2010 Metropolis Theme Poster




Burning Man Past Themes


1995 – Good and Evil
1996 – The Inferno
1997 – Mysteria
1998 – The Nebulous Entity
1999 – The Wheel of Time
2000 – The Body
2001 – The Seven Ages
2002 – The Floating World
2003 – Beyond Belief
2004 – Vault of Heaven
2005 – Psyche
2006 – Hope & Fear
2007 – The Green Man
2008 – American Dream
2009 – Evolution – A Tangled Bank
2010 – Metropolis – The Life of Cities
2011 – Rites of Passage
2012 – Fertility 2.0
2013 – Cargo Cult
2014 – Caravansary
2015 – Carnival of Mirrors
2016 – Da Vinci’s Workshop
2017 – Radical Ritual
2018 – I, Robot