Five tons of Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds, which form a meditative, rectangular floor-sculpture, just went on view at Mary Boone Gallery in New York, where the installation will remain on exhibit through February 4. Related to Ai’s October 2010 installation at the Tate Modern, it’s the first NY showing of the hand-painted sunflowers seeds, which were made by artisans in the historic porcelain-producing city of Jingdezhen in northern Jiangxi, China. In this video, Ai takes us to Jingdezhen to meet the workers that cast and painted the seeds while discussing the significance of the sunflower to Mao Tse-tung and recent Chinese history.
Ai Weiwei, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, 2010. Gold-plated bronze, dimensions vary. Installation view at Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 West 27 Street. Photo by Cari Vuong. Courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery
Don’t miss the final chance to see Ai Weiwei’s striking exhibition of gold zodiac heads on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery’s new West 27th Street space (formerly the Bungalow 8 nightclub) through Friday, December 23. Set in a sleek, 2500-square-foot, sky-lit gallery, designed by architect Markus Dochantschi of studioMDA, the 12 golden sculptures of the Chinese zodiac animals re-interpret the symbolic figures that encircled a water-clock fountain at the 19th century Chinese imperial retreat Yuanming Yuan, the Garden of Perfect Brightness, which was looted and destroyed by British troops during the Second Opium War.
Tate Modern, The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds. October 12, 2010 – May 2, 2011
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei tops Art Review’s Power 100 list this year. The richest artist in China is also the most politically outspoken one — a lesson that might be learned by more artists around the world. Art Review’s top 25 power brokers include mega-dealer Larry Gagosian, Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg, Pace Gallery second-in-command Marc Glimcher, PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach, and Performa director and curator RoseLee Goldberg. Nine high-profile players working with Artspace round out the list: artists Liam Gillick, Anish Kapoor, Takashi Murakami, Gerhard Richter, and Cindy Sherman; gallerists Jay Jopling, Nicolai Wallner, and David Zwirner; and Creative Time director Anne Pasternak.
A letter from Urs Meile, Ai Weiwei’s primary dealer, who has galleries in Beijing and Lucerne, Switzerland, arrived in our inbox this afternoon stating that the artist, who was incarcerated for 80 days by the Chinese government, is in good health and beginning to get back to work. Meile, who visited Ai at his Bejing home and studio from June 30 to July 3, says that detention didn’t break Ai’s vigor, sense of humor, and alertness. Read Meile’s full letter and and see his attached photo after the jump.
Confined in China since April 3rd for “suspected economic crimes,” artist and social activist Ai Weiwei was supposed to be in New York this week for the unveiling of his Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads public art project at New York City’s Grand Army Plaza. Instead, 12 artists and arts officials represented the artist by reading lines from his previous interviews and blog posts, while Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke of the artist’s courage and desire for freedom.