Philippe Petit, High Wire Artist, Performs The Ribbon Walk At The Cathedral Of St. John The Divine

January 26, 2024

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine welcomes Philippe Petit, High Wire Artist and Artist in Residence at the Cathedral, for “The Ribbon Walk.”

The event takes place on Thursday, February 1st, 2024, at 6 pm EST, at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, located at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street), in Harlem, NY.

In The Ribbon Walk, Philippe Petit (of World Trade Center fame) will walk a high wire through the ribbons of Divine Pathways in a one-night only special event at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The evening will also include live music.

Divine Pathways is a stunning, site-specific textile installation created by artist Anne Patterson for the vaulted Nave of the Cathedral. The more than 1,100 ribbons include the hopes, prayers, and dreams of organizations and communities from across the Morningside Heights neighborhood, New York City, and the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Divine Pathways is on view through June 2024.

The interaction of the work of these two great artists is something not to be missed.

Philippe Petit on “The Ribbon Walk” and working with Anne Patterson’s Divine Pathways:

Working with another artist in another medium gives me a new sense of my own art. For me, high-wire walking is an art form, grounded in theater, dance, cinema, painting, and sculpture. I want my audiences to see something beautiful, to inspire them, literally to raise their sights.

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Divine Pathways transforms the Cathedral while it is there. My walking through its ribbons will change the sculpture itself – I don’t know precisely how, but it will. That is the magic of art in unusual places – ribbons and highwires in a Cathedral – and artists bringing two different minds, sensibilities, and media together.

Anne Patterson on working with Philippe Petit and “The Ribbon Walk:”

In this revelatory happening a theatrical high wire artist will be interacting with an installation artist’s creation, igniting a visual and theatrical feast for the eyes.

I conceived of Divine Pathways as an interactive art installation. The ribbons carry our prayers upwards and grace downwards back to us. 

Phillippe Petit’s walk through my ribbons will manifest the interactive theatricality in Divine Pathways. Wonder and joy will be made palbable. It is a dream come true.

Tickets are available at three price levels:
$25, $50  General Admission

$250 Reserved VIP Seating plus post-event cocktails with the artists in the Cathedral

$1,000 all of the above and dinner with the artists in the Cathedral

Philippe Petit

After he became world famous for walking a steel cable without permission between the towers of the World Trade Center at the age of 25, Philippe Petit continued performing on high wires around the world. (His most recent performance was in March, 2023 at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. – see photo below.)

Now 74, he is also an author, artist, close-up magician, lock-picker, keynote speaker, 18th-century-method timber framer, chess player, aficionado of French wine, linguist and was once seen bullfighting in Peru. He has been arrested over 500 times on 5 continents —for street juggling. In 2024, Philippe is looking forward to commemorating the 50th anniversary of the World Trade Center walk in 2024 on a high wire inside a glorious Manhattan landmark joined by a cast of world-renowned performers.

Anne Patterson

Anne Patterson is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Brooklyn. Her body of work consists of paintings, sculptures and large-scale multimedia installations that combine sculpture, architecture, lighting, video, music and scent. Drawing from her background in theater set design she uses these modalities to create an artistic practice, hovering somewhere between the visual, experiential, and immersive.

Patterson’s large-scale installations have filled cathedrals, office buildings, and galleries across the country with miles of fabric, aluminum, copper and brass. She created Graced With Light, an installation inspired by music, as the 2013 Artist-in-Residence at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Art for Earth, commissioned by the fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna in 2020, was made of thousands of lengths of fabric repurposed from Zegna fabrics. Her installation, Ascendant Light, opened in the winter of 2022 in Capital One Center in VA.

Anne has exhibited widely including solo exhibitions at The Ringling Museum and Alfstad & Contemporary. Her work has been shown at The Trapholt Museum, Denmark; Cristina Grajales, New York; Scope Art Fair, Miami; Aqua Art Fair, Miami; Building Bridges Art Exchange, Los Angeles; Valerie Dillon Gallery, New York; Denise Bibro, New York; Cade Tompkins Projects, Providence, RI; Jessica Hagen Gallery, Newport, RI, and One Twelve Gallery, Atlanta.     

Divine Pathways

Divine Pathways is a stunning, site-specific textile installation created by artist Anne Patterson for the vaulted Nave of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  The work includes more than 1,100 individual strands of fabric in 75’ lengths totalling nearly 16 miles of fabric.  Each piece of fabric was tied to lengths of rope that were attached to an aluminum truss frame.  The frame is 120’ x 30’ and is suspended approximately 90’ above the floor of the Nave by steel cables that extend through the weep holes in the ceiling. The frame alone weighs 3,500 pounds with the total installation weighing approximately 5,000 pounds.

Divine Pathways was created in concert with communities and organizations from across the Morningside Heights neighborhood, New York City and the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The artist invited community members to literally write themselves into the work by writing their hopes, dreams and prayers onto the ribbons. Though individuals prayers are anonymous and byond the viewer’s sight, their collective presence creates an experience that is both intimate and immense, and that celebrates the collaborative process and community itself.

Over 1,200 prayers, hope and dreams were written on the ribbons before they were installed.

The Cathedral

Over one hundred years ago, the trustees of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine conceived its mission to be a house of prayer for all people, an instrument of church unity, and a center of intellectual light and leading in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

Today, as the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and the seat of its bishop, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine serves the many diverse people of our diocese, city, nation and world through the worship of God; pastoral, educational and community outreach activities; cultural and civic events; international ecumenical initiatives; and the preservation of the great architectural and historic site that is its legacy.

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