Hirshhorn Museum Plans Ai Weiwei Retrospective
Ai Weiwei’s “Cube Light,” a 2008 work from a series of large-scale installations using glass crystals that he began in 2002. Photo courtesy of the artist
So much attention has been paid to Ai Weiwei the Chinese rebel that it seems to have eclipsed Ai Weiwei the artist. A major retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington this fall, as well as a recent installation and acquisition there, may shift the balance.
“It all began two years ago, before he was ever incarcerated,” said Kerry Brougher, the Hirshhorn’s deputy director and chief curator. “Because Washington is the national and international nerve center of the world, we really wanted to hold an Ai Weiwei retrospective here at the Hirshhorn.”
As a prelude to the retrospective, “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” — which runs Oct. 7 to Feb. 24, 2013 — the Hirshhorn has just installed his “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” around its fountain. New Yorkers may remember the piece on display around the Pulitzer Fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel last year. It consists of a dozen bronze sculptures, each about 10 feet tall, that represent the signs of the Chinese zodiac (snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit and dragon). They are reimagined versions of the Qing dynasty heads made for the fountain clock of an imperial retreat outside Beijing. The heads disappeared during looting by British and French troops in the Second Opium War in 1860, an event that in China remains a symbol of national humiliation. Some of the heads began to resurface in 2000, but five are still missing.
You can read the full article via ArtDaily here.
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