MONUMASS with texting man (and my thumb; sorry). Because public art is good for leaning on.
  • MONUMASS with texting man (and my thumb; sorry). Because public art is good for leaning on.
Seth Friedman is a high-level scientist in Seattle, as well as a stone sculptor. This summer, he carved a piece of ancient Persian Travertine marble into a a 5-foot-tall pinkish "greeter" figure on a pedestal. He set it in Victor Steinbrueck Park, across from the water views, the totem poles, the old-growth trees, and the transient crowd—just to create an unexplained, temporary, mysterious focal point like a stick in a river.

Tonight there's a closing party for the piece at the Alibi Room in Pike Place Market. It starts at 8 pm and everyone's invited.

Friedman paid for the installation himself with permission from the authorities. He didn't leave his name or any explanation with it. He just set it down and observed.

As for what meaning is contained in the form, Friedman says he doesn't have any idea. He doesn't know where his forms come from. They feel like mysteries to him, and all he knows is when to stop. Plenty of abstractionists work this intuitive way. (See more of Friedman's forms here.)

When I stopped by the piece recently, at first I couldn't find the smooth, beautiful marble at first. That's because it was being leaned on by a burly man who was texting. He was part of a tough crew that looked like it owned the place. Public art is good for leaning on.

There also was a dry-humping incident.

According to Friedman, on opening day last month, "At 6:30am, we had an installation/"opening" which consisted of me bringing a crane and donuts/coffee to the park residents. Fifteen minutes later, an impromptu blessing was delivered by a very large Native American man and we left. After a relaxing brunch, my friends convinced me to do a drive-by. In the entranceway to the park was a cop car w/one of the "super-friendly" guys from the morning on the hood. The Native American told us [the guy] had been dry-humping the sculpture. Whether there was more to the story I did not stick around to find out. The ... dry-hump [response]: a new gold-standard for public art acceptance."

After a week, Friedman wrote up his field notes and shared them in an email:

  • Courtesy of the artist

Say goodbye tonight to the public-art-litmus that is MONUMASS. The sculpture will be removed tomorrow.