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.
Sanford Biggers’ speaks at London’s Tate Modern in 2008 about his video Hip Hop Ni Sasagu (In Fond Memory of Hip Hop) that was on view in the exhibition Illuminations at the museum. The video features the artist and friends taking part in an improvised bell-ringing ceremony at a Zen temple in Japan. As Biggers explains, a number of the metal bells used in the video were fabricated from melted-down hip-hop jewelery. He talks to TateShots about making this work, and the connections he sees between the traditions of African-American hip-hop and Buddhism.