If you are in NYC, head uptown to see Chinese artist Xu Bing’s monumental “Phoenix” installation soaring inside the Cathedral of St John the Divine on 110th Street.
The two birds, measuring over 90 and 100 feet and weighing over 12 tonnes, are “recycled” marvels — made up of construction debris salvaged from sites throughout Beijing.
We spotted nails, metal railings, tubing, shovels, various tools, and even the body of a small cement mixer.
“Large scale artworks made from waste materials can powerfully engage viewers to think about how much is wasted in our culture,” says Great Forest recycling expert Sandra Robishaw, who is also an artist.
We are big fans of “recycled” art at Great Forest. Last year, Sandra built our own “recycled” bird for America Recycles Day. Each year we create a variety of different displays using discarded water bottles, cans, cardboard and paper for various Earth Day events. But we were blown away by the scale and vision of Xu Bing’s work. It is truly inspiring. Who knows, maybe next year our displays might take a few hints from this artist’s magnificent example.
Xu Bing started the “Phoenix” project in 2008, creating the installation as a commentary on the poor state of migrant workers building luxury skyscrapers. The giant birds were assembled in the cathedral over two months, using over 30 hoists and 140 feet of truss. (Watch a video of the installation below)
The two birds will be on view in NYC for a year. (See more photos here)