|"City Beautiful" by Robert Alosa|
"You won't have to spend much time there," he said with a shake of his head. "One day I walked by an open door and saw a lot of extension cords hanging from the ceiling. I told them they'd better get that cleaned up because the exhibit was opening soon. It turned out that was part of the show." We laughed and went on our merry way.
The work in question was "City Beautiful" by Robert Alosa. As promised, there were lots of extension cords, along with some lumber. The wall card explained the artist's intent. The construction feel is a reference to gentrification and all its issues. The boards evoke the planks supporting newly planted palm trees that pepper developments in Florida. Not a work I'd want to have in my living room, but I can get on board with the concept. Bruce was distinctly in the guard's camp. Diplomatic as ever, Dorrit didn't take sides.
Ai Wei Wei's stools reference the treatment
of intellectuals during the Cultural Revolution
|Detail from engraving of Zodiac Fountain Clock|
In 1860, during the Second Opium War, the Yuanming Yuang was looted and burned by European troops. The bronze zodiac heads disappeared. Over time, five were located and acquired by the Poly Museum in Beijing. In 2009, two additional heads resurfaced -- at an auction of items from the estate of Yves St. Laurent. Controversy ensued, and the sale of the rat and rabbit heads did not go through despite the auction having been completed.
|Ai Wei Wei "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads"|
It's worth noting that Ai Wei Wei didn't sculpt the heads himself. As with much of his work, he was responsible for the concept and oversaw its implementation.
Similarly, he didn't create the fences included in the "Fences Make Good Neighbors" exhibit now in New York City. The exhibit includes 300 (yes, 300) different types of fences located throughout the five boroughs. I am thrilled they will still be on display when I visit New York in January. (Note to self: Bring warm clothes so I can comfortably tromp all over the city.) I'll be sure to report back.