An Oscar Wilde temple has opened in New York City

Oscar Wilde temple

A secular temple dedicated to Oscar Wilde has opened in New York after twenty years of planning.

The site of worship, which is based in the basement of a church in East Village, in New York City, will be open for five days a week to visitors.

It will also be available for private ceremonies, including weddings.


Oscar Wilde secular temple

(DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

The landmark site has been created by artists David McDermott and Peter McGough, who also lived for years like Victorians, wearing top hats and high starched collars and opted to remove electricity and a series of other conveniences from their NYC apartment.

The setting includes a centrepiece altar built around a more than four-foot statue of Wilde, and contains effects including a pedestal inscribed with Wilde’s prisoner number after he was arrested for gross indecency in 1895.

“He invoked all of us to rebel, that it was the inherent quality of human beings to be rebellious, to move society, to be individual,” said curator Alison Gingeras, who organised the project, to AFP.

The walls also depict illustrations of tabloid headlines about Wilde during his lifetime, as well as portraits of iconic figures Brandon Teena, Marsha P. Johnson and Alan Turing.

The Greenwich Village church has a strong LGBTQ contingent, and the Pastor of the site of worship celebrated the installation.

“It fits so deeply into the ethos of this congregation, which we call radically inclusive,” said Pastor Wells to the news agency.

Although the temple will be open in the American church until December 2, British fans of the icon won’t miss out.

The temple will relocate to London after the date and will be open to visitors.

All proceeds from private events and donations to the Temple will go to support LGBTQ youth at risk of homelessness.