Guardian of Eden – Reno, Nevada - Atlas Obscura

Guardian of Eden

This 18-foot-tall steel lotus is a meditation on ecological crisis that originally appeared at Burning Man. 

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Outside the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno stands a giant steel blossom. The sculpture, which debuted at Burning Man, is meant to inspire viewers to reflect on Earth’s ecological crisis.

Reno is a gathering point for many Burners before and after Burning Man, an annual event held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The event is famous for its interactive art installations, and many residents are involved with different aspects of the event.  Art from Burning Man fills the city, and this sculpture was one of the first piece to find a permanent home in Reno. 

“Guardian of Eden” was created by New York-based artist Kate Raudenbush, who often explores environmental issues through her work. Raudenbush describes her inspiration for “Guardian of Eden” as “a cross pollination of Hindu and Egyptian creation myth, Buddhist symbolism and the ancient symbol of the Flower Of Life.” At night, blue lights project an interlocking circular design onto the ground beneath the sculpture.

Built to withstand the harsh desert climate, the sculpture is made from structural steel. Each of the twelve petals are covered with intricate laser-cut designs. When the sculpture debuted in 2007, Burning Man’s theme was “The Green Man,” an exploration of how humans interact with nature.

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The piece is displayed outside of the Nevada Museum of Art’s entrance on the corner of West Liberty Street and Hill Street.