Born in 1948, Larry Harvey grew up on a small farm on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. In the late 1970s, he moved to San Francisco and soon discovered the city's thriving underground art scene. In 1986, he founded Burning Man at a local beach, and has guided its progress ever since. Larry likes the word "prodigious." "Primal" would run a close second. "Looming" and "vast" would doubtless place. He has, by his own admission, a grandiose imagination. This is tempered by a love of people and a keen appreciation of their characters, capacities, and creative ideas. In his role as spokesperson for the Project, he is known for his hat. The famous Stetson, a pearl gray 7 3/8" Open Road, seldom leaves his head. It is worn, he tells us, in remembrance of his father, who wore the original.
Larry is currently executive director of the Project. He serves as chairman of Burning Man's senior staff and Black Rock City LLC, its executive committee. He also co-chairs the organization's Art Department, scripts and co-curates Burning Man's annual art theme, and collaborates with artists in creating aspects of the art theme and the design of Black Rock City. He produces Burning Man's annual newsletter and writes articles and essays for the Project's website. As spokesperson for Burning Man, he is frequently interviewed by reporters, and he has lectured on subjects as diverse as art, religion, civic planning, and the rise of cyber-culture in the era of the Internet. Larry is also a political planner. He supervises the organization's lobbying efforts and frequently attends meetings with state, county, and federal agencies.
In May 1998, Larry was invited to Harvard's Second International Conference on Internet and Society as a panelist for Charles Nesson's discussion, "The Internet and Education." Larry also spoke with art critic Mark Van Proyen at the San Francisco Library's Koret Auditorium in August 1998 and Bruka Theater in Reno, Nevada in 1999. In the year 2000, Larry delivered a lecture entitled "La Vie Boheme" at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon. In 2001, he was a guest lecturer at Gensler Architecture in San Francisco, and the South By Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas. He was also honored with an invitation to Grace Cathedral's "Forum Series" in May 2003, where he engaged with the Very Reverend Alan Jones in a dialogue entitled "Radical Ritual."