The Oscar Wilde Temple


A Collaboration Between McDermott & McGough, The LGBT Community Center of New York City, and The Church of the Village Memorializing Leaders in the Fight for Equality


The Oscar Wilde Temple, an ambitious public installation work two decades in the making is conceived as a welcoming secular space to honor one of the earliest and most courageous forebears in the centuries-long struggle for gay liberation and to celebrate the fight for equality. The refusal of famed Irish author, novelist, poet, and playwright Oscar Wilde (1864-1900) to hide his sexuality even when faced with imprisonment and hard labor, has resonated with McDermott & McGough since the outset of their collaborative practice in the midst of the bohemian East Village art scene of the 1980s. Wilde’s example as an enemy of homophobia remains a bellwether of modern activism and is the basis for McDermott & McGough’s installation, which combines painting, sculpture, and site specific elements in a functioning environment that recalls the beautiful and provocative sensuousness of the Aesthetic Movement Wilde championed. 

The Temple project has been realized through a synergistic collaboration between The Church of the Village and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York City (The Center), a joint effort conceived to foster deeper ties between the two institutions and to expand the community services they offer. The Temple will be available for private ceremonies, including weddings, memorials, naming services, and other celebrations, on a reservation basis. All proceeds from such private events, as well as ongoing public donations to the Temple, will support The Center’s programs for LGBTQ youth at risk of homelessness.

On view through December 2nd and organized by independent curator Alison Gingeras, The Oscar Wilde Temple will be housed inside The Church of the Village on West 13th Street in the heart of the Greenwich Village Historic District in New York City. Its presentation coincides with McDermott & McGough: I’ve Seen The Future and I’m Not Going, the duo’s museum retrospective opening at the Dallas Contemporary in Texas on October 1, 2017. In 2018, The Oscar Wilde Temple will travel to London, where it will be presented at Studio Voltaire.