Presented at Burning Man 2017 and weighing 16 tons, the sculpture Lithic Altars inhabited a vast section of the playa, larger than a football field. Three distinct outdoor rooms in which large stone tables or altars were carefully set on axis with the cardinal directions defined the work. In support of the festival theme, Radical Ritual, the sculptures created permeable spaces for contemplation and communion, extending and nurturing human fellowship. The work was subtle and offered a welcome respite from the flashing lights, pounding music and sensory overload of the larger festival experience. Warmed by the strong heat of the sun, the stone tables remained heated to the touch long into the evening hours, becoming a natural gathering place for individuals and groups.
Like much of Rhodes’ work, this artwork sits at the intersection of architecture and sculpture, inhabiting a liminal space between monumental and intimate.