Last Friday, we kicked off Open Source with a party celebrating the exhibition and the installation of Jonathan Monk's sculptures Steps and Pyramid at Paine's Park. It was a great time, and we have to give a big thank you to Delicias, Local 215, and Little Baby's Ice Cream for food, Chill Moody and DJ Ricochet for music, and the Department of Recreation and the Franklin's Paine Skatepark Fund for the site.
Temporary skateable sculpture were part of the plan for Paine's Park from the beginning, but Monk's are the first to be installed. Already, skateboarders, inline skaters, and BMXers have been hitting the sculptures hard. Even if you don't skate, it's definitely worth a trip over to Paine's Park to see the action in person. So far, the general consensus is that Pyramid is the easier of the two pieces, and Steps is only for experts only. Still, both pieces are getting plenty of action. By the time they pieces are removed in November, we expect that they'll be thoroughly scuffed up and skated on, just as Monk intended.
But what exactly are Steps and Pyramid? They don't look like your typical skate ramp. In fact, they're based on two sculptures by Sol LeWitt, also called Steps and Pyramid. LeWitt's sculptures are located just a stone's throw from Paine's Park in the sculpture garden at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. LeWitt's sculptures are made of concrete blocks, resting on a bed of gravel, and surrounded by signs that remind visits not to touch (or skate) the artworks. Monk wanted to flip that idea of "do not touch" on its head and pay homage to LeWitt's work by activating it in a new way. To recreate LeWitt's work in a more skateable format, Monk increased the scale of the sculptures and changed the material from concrete blocks to plywood, steel, and Skatelite. To keep the same look, the outer layer of Skatelite on Monk's pieces was printed and painted to resemble LeWitt's concrete blocks. Monk's work has always involved a playful relationship with the work of other artists, but this is the first time that he's opening up that process to the public.
So, get on over to Paine's Park (and the Philadelphia Museum of Art) to check out both sets of Steps and Pyramid. Just don't confuse which ones are meant to be skated on!
Here are a few more photos from the launch party:
Photos by Steve Weinik