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Ai Weiwei zodiac installation arrives at LACMA

August 17, 2011 |  7:00 am

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Ai Weiwei has been in the news a lot in recent months. The outspoken artist-activist was imprisoned by Chinese officials for more than 11 weeks earlier this year and is currently out on bail. Officials have charged him with tax evasion but many believe he is being punished for his activism on behalf of free speech and other causes.

In the U.S., Ai's art has been difficult to see. But starting Saturday, L.A. will get a rare chance to experience his work up close when LACMA hosts his touring installation project "Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads." The installation, at the museum through February, features 12 large-scale animal heads from the Chinese zodiac modeled after those at the Yuanming Yuan, an 18th century palace outside Beijing. (The original work was pillaged by Western military forces in the 19th century, and parts of it are still missing today.)

The cast bronze sculptures will be arranged in a circular formation outdoors on the plaza level of the museum's main courtyard. (There is no charge to see the installation). The museum said the heads vary in weight, with some weighing close to a ton.

We'll have a full story on Ai Weiwei's zodiac heads soon. In the meantime, here are a few pictures of the installation in progress at LACMA.

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-- David Ng

Photos: Installation views of Ai Weiwei's "Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads" at LACMA. Credit: David Ng / Los Angeles Times

 

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