On show from the evening of Friday 14 April during Museum Night Maastricht, valid Museum Night ticket required. Open tot the public: 15.04.2023 - 17.09.2023. 

Curators: Celien Govaerts, junior curator of contemporary art Bonnefanten; Roxy Jongewaard, artistic assistant Bonnefanten; and Ed Templeton.

From triumphs, disasters, boredom, self-medication and toxic masculinity, to sacrifice. Ed Templeton (1972, Garden Grove, California), one of the most influential skateboarders of all time, photographed his environment, friends and skate adventures from 1995 onwards. It was to become his life’s work. His photos surpass the autobiographical and depict skateboarding from 1995 to around 2012 as a unique subculture. Now, more than 25 years on and with many exhibitions to his name in galleries and museums all over the world, Templeton has become a street photography legend. The Bonnefanten is presenting the impressive oeuvre by Ed Templeton in Wires Crossed, from 15 April to 17 September 2023.

“The title Wires Crossed comes from my conviction that as a skateboarder you have to have a wire loose somewhere in your mind”, says Ed Templeton. “I mean that in a very positive sense. Skateboarding is a physically demanding feat of performance art, which is done as a reaction to and often in defiance of an architectural space and the objects in it. It’s fleeting. That’s why photography is necessary: it captures the essence.”

Ed Templeton, Zelfportret Ed Templeton, Texas, 1998. ©Ed Templeton.
Ed Templeton, Self-portrait Ed Templeton, Texas, 1998. Courtesy of the artist.

Visual time capsule

In Wires Crossed, Templeton shares all aspects of his life and the lives of his friends and colleagues. “Nobody seemed bothered that I took photos”. On their long tours, they explore their own boundaries, both physical and mental. The photos show the twilight zone between adolescence and adult life: jokes, broken bones, boredom, arguments and sex. Through the detailed visual reports - just before mobiles and social media were to change society for good - Templeton gives the skateboarders a face. They are not caricatures of unruly kids, but profound personalities, searching for themselves and for their place in life, at the most spectacular locations. The images form a visual time capsule of a fascinating subculture.


You could call Ed Templeton a voyeur. As a professional skater, he takes a down-to-earth view of his own community. He lets us experience this skate culture through his photos, which often arise from amazement at the absurdity of that world. Although he is part of the skateboard scene, he also takes an outside view. This relationship lends his photos a contemplative character. Templeton feels like the eye of the storm; quiet and observant, while life whirls around him.

Ed Templeton, Matt Bennett loopt naar een afwateringskanaal, Norco, Californië, 2006. ©Ed Templeton.
Ed Templeton, Matt Bennett hikes to a drainage ditch, Norco, California, 2006. Courtesy of the artist. 

Photos with an extra dimension

Templeton is the ideal person to give a record of who skateboarders are; honest and unpolished. In doing so, he looks for beauty in the unusual. Often, he paints the backgrounds of his photos or adds text to them, thus placing extra focus on a subject and the person. Through this signature, he leaves an indelible impression, just as he did as a professional skateboarder.  

Publication Ed Templeton: Wires Crossed. Photo: Ed Templeton.
Publication Ed Templeton: Wires Crossed. Photo: Ed Templeton.

Publication Ed Templeton - Wires Crossed 

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive hardback publication of memoirs depicting skating as a subculture between 1995 and 2012. The book contains drawings and photos, some of which are painted and have additional texts, which have been grouped intuitively by Ed Templeton. The English-language artist’s book is published by Aperture, and is available from the Bonnefanten museum shop and from online bookshops. Price: € 55. ISBN: 9781597115360.

This exhibition is made possible by: 

Mogelijk gemaakt door Ministerie OCW, Provincie Limburg, VriendenLoterij en RVCA

Thanks also go to the collaboration partners: Long Beach Museum of Art, Mathieu Bruls Architect and Stichting Stadsnomade. 

Following the presentation in the Bonnefanten, the exhibition Ed Templeton: Wires Crossed will travel on to Long Beach Museum of Art in California.


Noot for the press: for more information, interviews and visual material, please contact Debbie Jans through pressoffice@bonnefanten.nl or on +31 (0)6 22290184.

Header: Ed Templeton, Mike Maldonado skated a full pipe, Davenport, Iowa, 1998. Courtesy of the artist.