Karen Cusolito Lights Her Artwork on Fire
Meet the artist who burns her creations to amazing effect
- By Leah Binkovitz
- Smithsonian magazine, December 2012
In 1997, while attending the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, Karen Cusolito saw art in an entirely new light. “Fire is always very dramatic and it’s unscripted,” says the Oakland-based sculptor, who unveiled her first flaming creation five years later. Many of Cusolito's early works, including the 30-foot tall sculpture Ecstasy from 2007, feature the human form. "I really, really elongated her neck to enhance the sense of her head being thrown behind her in this sense of ecstasy," says Cusolito.