After a catastrophic 2001 fire, the 17th-century Barberini tapestries have returned to view at Manhattan’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.
Aristotelians and logical positivists alike have had a field day speculating about the related phenomena of sight, perception, and truth, but what about the revelations one may glean through the unsinkable, old-fashioned medium of elastic, luminous paint?
The myth of the phoenix casting itself into the flames only to rise up stronger is powerful and monumental, with reverberations of self-sacrifice, destruction, hope, and regeneration. In an installation in the nave of Manhattan’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Chinese artist Xu Bing has realized a pair of these birds from the debris of Beijing construction sites.
On the Portal of Paradise on the western façade of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan are sculptures of the end of modern New York. The Brooklyn Bridge is breaking in two, a bus plummeting from it into the water while waves rise up over the toppling skyline. People run in a panic below the Stock Exchange, and next to them a scorpion, snake, and other signs of pestilence swarm a skeleton.
South African artist Jane Alexander has long worked with blurring the evolutionary line between humanity and animals, using anthropomorphic sculptures to respond to the dehumanizing nature of Apartheid. Yet with her work’s installation in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, one of New York’s most hallowed spaces, this space between what is human and what is beast becomes even more interesting.
If you’re near Columbia University, there’s an art show that sounds worthwhile exploring and it’s devoted to water. The Cathedral of St. John, which has long had an established art program, is tackling the topic of H2O in their current art show that features some major artists, including Jenny Holzer, William Kentridge, Robert Longo and Mark Rothko, alongside lesser known talents. The works are presented in the bays of the nave, in various chapels, and along the walls of the Great Crossing.