Every year there is a new art exhibition at the cathedral. Last year pair of monumental birds were installed in the majestic nave. As these phoenixes hovered some 20 feet above, their tiny, twinkling lights illuminated an array of unexpected materials: feathers fashioned from shovels; crowns made of weathered hard hats; heads created from jackhammers. You can read about phoenixes in the cathedral in one of my posts.This fall the multimedia display "The Value of Food: Sustaining a Green Planet" opened at the Cathedral. The exhibition explores food production and access, environmental and agricultural sustainability and related issues. The Value of Food explores the dynamic and organic materiality of food and its integral role in sustaining human life. The artists in this exhibition work with food as a form of social engagement.
The exhibit features artists whose works are installed in the cathedral's seven chapels and 14 bays. It's divided into seven themes: water, soil, seed, farm, market, meal and waste.The steel and bronze sculpture “The Tables”, by Tom Otterness, appears among the works of 30 artists in the exhibition.
Otternes has more than forty public commissions in the US including Life Underground , his celebrated installation in the New York city subway station at 14th street and 8th Avenue( I wrote about it in one of my posts) and "The Real World" in Nelson Rockefeller park near Battery Park City ( you can see the pictures of his sculptures in the park here).
The Otternes exhibition consists of three picnic tables arranged in a 38-foot row filled with chaotic scenes: a broken human figure, a dinner-plate-size penny divided like a pizza and a cracked globe suspended on a pulley. The 1986 work has been variously interpreted as a civilization in decline and a symbol of gluttony.The artist hopes people sit down at his work called "The Tables" to discuss the iniquity of food. "It's about running an inn, and the wealthy have food and the poor don't and that's the essential concern," Otterness said.
The sculptures by Tom Otterness are installed not only in the center on the tables but within the support columns of the Cathedral.