This week at Huffington Post Arts & Culture, we jealously perused your best Burning Man pics, brushed up on our favorite Brazilian artists and wondered whether Shepard Fairey's sentence of two years probation was too harsh. To hear about all our adventures, from photorealism to the playa, read on!

628x471

Maybe you were at the Burning Man Festival last week, or maybe you'd never go in a million years (that alkaline dust is no joke!). Either way, we highly recommend debriefing with a photo and video recap, straight from the playa.

This year, the installations ranged from new contributions to old standards, and all were assuredly weird. For instance, Duane Flatmo brought back his fire-spouting, 25-foot-tall metal octopus, and El Pulpo Mecanico delivered the usual antics. The Pier, which earned some fame last year, debuted new tricks as Pier 2, ending in a wrecked ship filled with fake relics -- kind of like the Burning Man version of a Disney World attraction. Then there was the conversation starter of the week: Burn Wall Street, a non-partisan demonstration in which a re-imagining of the New York skyline -- including the "Merrill Lynched" building -- burned spectacularly to the ground.

ojoelflatow570

What do the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rihanna, Daughtry and Kid Rock have in common? They've all performed on the stages of a National Convention, be it Republican or Democrat. But what's more, they've all been booked by the same guy.

Joel Flatow is the West Coast arm of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the lobbying group that represents major record labels such as Sony and Universal. A lobbyist by profession, he deals with issues like First Amendment rights and intellectual property disputes, helping industry heads and musicians protect their political interests in California and D.C. But outside of the walls of state legislatures, his job continues, building connections and alliances between political groups and artists the music industry way -- booking shows. Whether it's a presidential inauguration, a Rock the Vote party, or the National Conventions, Flatow is the man who brings entertainers into the realm of politicians. Perhaps Flatow described it best during a phone and e-mail interview with The Huffington Post, stating: "If music and politics had a baby, that's what this gig is."

Read the enlightening interview with Flatow here.

7741432054_3ae06f735e_z

We know there are few things our HuffPost Arts & Culture readers love more than a good photorealistic painting. We don't blame you; we're fans of the human hand winning over technology, too. It is in this spirit we bring you hyper-detailed work of Victor Rodriguez, but be warned, he is no photorealist.

In his words... " I believe the only thing more boring than seeing a photorealistic painting is making one. And it is so because most photorealism is an end in itself -- it's only about how it's done. Once you get over the "mesmerizing technique" there's an empty void. Which is exactly what original photorealists wanted, by the way.

I don't consider what I do photorealism by any means, it's too imperfect, and besides it's not my point -- what I do is try to use photoderived imagery as a pictorial language."

See the rest of the interview and artwork here.

os

Are you ready for ArtRio? The four day international contemporary art fair will showcase more than 100 collections of galleries from around the world on September 13, 2012. "As one of the major art fairs in Latin America," ArtRio spans over an enormous 80,730 square feet and is spread throughout four different warehouses on the beautiful Guanabara Bay.

Created by Brenda Valansi, Elisangela Valadares, Alexandre Accioly, and Luiz Calainho, ArtRio has only expanded after last year's success. 120 galleries are expected at this year's fair, half of which will be international galleries, with over 60,000 visitors. As Luiz Calainho notes in the press release, "The annual calendar of events and initiatives of ArtRio will consolidate the position of the City of Rio de Janeiro among the most creative in the world, comprising a select group currently including Berlin, New York, Barcelona, and London as the most important destinations. More than merely an event, ArtRio will be present in the City’s daily routine, at every corner of Rio, in its landscaping, communication outlets, as well as its economic discussions. We will highlight the artistic value of Rio de Janeiro as a style of life, knowledge and investment.”

Click here to see a roundup of our favorite Brazilian artists.

shep

Artist Shepard Fairey was sentenced to two years probation in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan Friday.

Known for the "HOPE" posters he created during President Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, Fairey pleaded guilty in February to charges of criminal contempt, and admitted to destroying and fabricating evidence related to a civil lawsuit with the Associated Press. That lawsuit, which revolved around whether or not Fairey’s infamous poster based on an AP image violated copyright laws, was settled out of court in 2011.

Fairey faced a maximum prison term of six months, however Judge Frank Maas sentenced the artist to probation and 300 hours of community service. He cited Fairey's history of charitable work and the letters of support submitted by friends and family of the artist.

Read Shepard Fairey's statement on the importance of fair use and artistic freedom here.