Over Memorial Day I got a chance to swing by and see Ai Weiwei’s sculpture exhibit at the Plaza Hotel at the southeast corner of Central Park.
The odd thing is that there isn’t a sign describing the heads sitting in the Pulitzer Fountain. There isn’t even a sign that notes the name of the artist or the title of the work (“Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads“). Maybe it was meant to echo China’s silencing of Ai Weiwei via jail.
What is the meaning behind the art itself? Surely it echos the bronze zodiac heads of a famous ancient water clock that were looted from China by British and French forces in the Opium War. It may also be a comment on capital punishment in China (the highest in the world on an annual basis, though not on a per-capita basis).
Or perhaps the 12 animals represent the mercurial nature and hypocrisy of the Communist Party of China, and the different masks it wears year-to-year, day-to-day, depending on whom it is addressing and what it ultimately wants.
I’m just saying.
Los Angelenos: Don’t be bummed you’re not in New York City. The exhibit is coming to LACMA in September!