Larry Harvey, the co-founder of the Burning Man, the annual art festival in the Black Rock Desert, has died at 70.
The American artist and activist died on Saturday morning (April 28th) at a hospital in San Francisco after a severe stroke that hit him on April 4th.
The news was released on the Burning Man website: “Our founder, friend, and original instigator, Larry Harvey has passed away. Larry was a visionary, a mentor, a philosopher, and a passionate advocate for Burning Man’s culture and principles. We have lost our founder. The world has lost a great human being.”
The website wrote also a tribute to Harvey: “We resolutely held out for a miracle, if there was anyone tenacious, strong-willed and stubborn enough to come back from this challenge, it was Larry.” adding: “Larry would be the first to say this isn’t an ending, but the start of a new chapter, and we all have a hand in where we go from here.”
Harvey launched Burning Man in 1986 with his friend Jerry James, and it was actually first held at Baker Beach in San Francisco, and at the end of the night, the group would burn the wooden effigy of a Man that Harvey and Jerry had built. The event began to grow over the next four years, reaching 800 attendants. In 1990 they had to change the location, moving it to the Black Rock Desert. The size of the festival continued to grow quickly, reaching nowadays more than 60.000 people that camp in the desert for eight days creating together many art installations. The participants celebrate the end of the festival with the ritual burning of the giant wooden effigy.
Harvey remained executive director of Black Rock City LLC, an organization formed to manage the festival, until his death. He was president of the Black Rock Arts Foundation, a non-profit art grant foundation for promoting interactive collaborative public art installations in communities outside of Black Rock City.