Since last December, Xu Bing’s “Phoenix” – a super-sized winged sculpture of two fantastical dragon birds – has been flying over Mass MoCA’s football-field-sized Building 5. As much a statement about the possibilities of recycling old materials as it is about the fantastic aspects of Chinese culture, it has been one of the best received installations in that airplane-hanger-sized space, and yet something has been missing.
The spectacular sculpture is internally lit by thousands of LED lights, and appears as a breath-taking constellation in the darkened museum gallery. But it has not been open to the public at night. I was lucky enough to glimpse it one evening at dusk, and it revealed a new dimension. The night before the exhibit is to close, we will finally be able to see “Phoenix after dark” in all its glory, but only on Saturday (October 26) at 9:30pm.