Ai Weiwei’s zodiac heads at the Phoenix Art Museum

Artist Ai Weiwei is currently holding an exhibition “Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads” at the Phoenix Art Museum, in Arizona, the United States, having started on 3 October 2015 and ending 31 January 2016. The exhibition features twelve eighteenth-century Chinese zodiac bronze sculptures. It features two series: a bronze series of larger sculptures for outdoor venues, and a gold series of smaller sculptures for indoor galleries. He was inspired by those that once decorated the Qing dynasty fountain, in an eighteenth-century imperial retreat outside Beijing. Like other ornate objects, the original pieces were looted by the British and French troops in the Second Opium War in 1860. Viewed as a symbol of “cultural theft”, Weiwei re-created the gold-plated sculptures in 2010 as a subversive commentary on the nature of looting and repatriation. Wi Weiwei’s works employ a wide range of media. Most recently the artist, who has been vocally critical of the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and record of human rights violations, had his passport revoked four years ago and it was returned to him on 22 July this year. Now Weiwei has started traveling again and working on upcoming exhibitions....

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Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” exhibited at LACMA

Los Angeles, 17 August 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). A Few days ago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art welcomed a work by Ai Weiwei, entitled Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads. The piece will be on display from next Saturday to February 2012. Everyone will be able to enjoy the piece for free as it is to be exhibited outside the museum. Ai Weiwei has recreated the legendary Zodiac clock, designed in the eighteenth century by two European Jesuits serving in the court of the Emperor Qianlong. In 1860, the Yuanming Yuan was ransacked by French and British troops, and the heads were pillaged. Seven of them have since been found: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, horse, monkey, and boar. The five others remain missing. Recently, two heads of the fountain–clock sparked international controversy. Beijing demanded that two original heads, auctioned during the 2010 Pierre Bergé / Yves Saint-Laurent sale, be returned. Ai Weiwei wanted all the heads to be reunited again with his work, bringing life back to the well–known fountain-clock. For this reason, the sculpture will continue to travel around the world: after New York, it will be displayed in Los Angeles before leaving for an other destinations....

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