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Heads Speak for an Artist Silenced by China

May 6, 2011
Plain English Version

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is in his second month of detention in China. No information about where he is, his condition or the charges against him are known.

In spite of his absence his first public sculpture, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” opened in New York City. It is located at the Pulitzer Fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel.

“Circle of Animals” is a series of 12 heads of the creatures of the Chinese Zodiac, for which years are also named: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, boar.

Each head is cast bronze, about four feet high sitting on a six-foot bronze base. The work will be on view through July 15 and will later travel to Los Angeles, Houston, Pittsburgh and Washington.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and members of the art world attended the opening ceremony. Artists read statements from Mr. Ai. Mr. Bloomberg called Mr. Ai “one of the most talented, respected and masterful artists of our time.”

The sculpture shows how much Mr. Ai has achieved as an artist, activist, designer and writer. He is in jail against his will at an unknown place. Critics of China are conducting protests around the world.

The New York Times



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