In May, large bronze sculptures depicting the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac will descend on Grand Army Plaza in New York and Somerset House in London. Created by Ai Weiwei, each weighs 800 pounds and were designed after the water clock-fountain at the Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan, in Beijing.
The heads were ransacked in 1860 by British and French troops and, recently, two heads from the original Old Summer Palace fountain were at the center of a controversial Christie’s sale.
The installation opens on May 2nd in New York and on May 12th at London’s Somerset House. The work’s New York installation is the first major public art sculpture exhibited in the United States by Ai Weiwei.
Following its two-month run in the Big Apple, the works will travel to Los Angeles, Houston, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. ‘Circle of Animals’ was previously displayed at the 29th Sao Paulo Biennale, which opened in September 2010.
Originally Reported 07/04/2011