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December 24th, 2008 by Leo Plaw

Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors Closes Temporarily

The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM) in New York will close at the end of this month. While the chapel will close with a New Year’s Eve party, the project will not come to an end.

Through the chapel’s corporation and with help from donors, they have bought a 40-acre plot of land in the town of Wappinger, 65 miles north of New York City and just a 20 minute walk from the Metro North train stop at New Hamburg. Here they plan to rebuild the chapel and develop an interfaith retreat center. There, eventually, they intend to construct a four story, domed temple to house the Sacred Mirror paintings and provide a place for rites of cosmic consciousness. There will also be studios, workshops, conferences, retreats, offices, visionary art exhibitions and an installation of the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors permanent art collection which has become a context for a growing community.

One of the criteria for the Greys for CoSM’s site selection, was that the land required rehabilitation. On the plot they selected were a number of old oil tanks. This required that the contaminated soil be removed and the surrounding treated.

Founded by the Alex Grey, and his wife, Allyson Grey, the chapel is a curious, combination of art gallery and New Age temple. The main attraction is an installation of allegorical paintings by Alex Grey that, in the context of a carefully orchestrated theatrical environment, is designed to transport paying visitors into states of ecstatic reverence for life, love and universal interconnectedness.

The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors proper is currently a long hall with red walls hung with a series of 20 life size paintings of standing human figures that Alex made in the early ’80s. They include pictures of naked racial types; images of people with skin peeled off to reveal underlying anatomical structures; and figures that have almost completely dissolved into patterns of circulating light. At one end of the hall, a radiant Jesus hangs next to a glowing Sophia. Grey’s 2006 portrait of the discoverer of LSD, Albert Hofmann, is displayed on an easel in the middle of one of the chapel’s other rooms. It’s called “St. Albert and the LSD Revelation Revolution.”

Hundreds have attended the Grey’s regularly sponsored Entheocentric Salon, an all-night party involving, according to the Chapel’s guidebook, “live painting, video projections, local and international DJs and musicians, live performances, lectures and visionary conversations.”

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