Home > Antiques/Antiquities, Asian Art, Chinese > BIRDS FLYING IN THE CATHEDRAL


The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights in New York has two monumental Phoenix birds suspended in the nave. Fashioned from salvaged construction material in China the birds have feathers fashioned from layers of shovels, crowns made from old hard hats and bodies from jackhammers — unexpected junkyard material very elegantly transformed into a male and female Phoenix bird. As is true with many works of art from China, the conceptual artist Xu Bing interprets many cultural and political ideas with his Phoenix birds. For me the fact that these Chinese birds are inside a massive Gothic style cathedral in New York is amazing – they were welcomed by the Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalsky, the Dean of St. John the Divine. He says that the birds create a discourse and that Mr. Xu is a global citizen “who sees from this debris the human condition”

Here is the link to the NYT article.


Link to the Cathedral website:


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