Sarasota, Florida-Acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei will return to The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art with his new Zodiac (2018) LEGO series, on view in the Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art from Nov. 17, 2019-Feb. 2, 2020. The 12 impressive portraits in the series are made entirely of LEGO pieces and measure 90 x 90 inches each. The Zodiac LEGO series demonstrates the artist’s continued focus on the zodiac animal concept and this latest body of work builds on the success of his internationally acclaimed Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze and Gold (2010) sculpture series, which The Ringling hosted in the outdoor garden area of the museum during 2017-2018. Both series celebrate Ai Weiwei’s reinterpretation of the 12 bronze animal heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace), an imperial retreat outside Beijing. The Ringling will be the first museum in the United States to host the Zodiac LEGO series (besides its commercial debut at Deitch Gallery in Los Angeles in 2018).
The Zodiac (2018) series continues Ai Weiwei’s tendency toward the accumulation of materials, a creative method the artist has employed for many of his best-known works. His interest in amassing and collecting connects with his ongoing interest in how individuals relate to society through experience. Ai Weiwei’s use of LEGO bricks, usually considered a children’s toy- is a poignant example of his singular art practice and the reconfiguration of this basic material, transforming the narrative and nature of this medium.
Steven High, the Ringling’s Executive Director said, “We are pleased to once again present the though-provoking work of this important artist. His works, which are produced in a multitude of mediums bring awareness to global issues including human rights and freedom of expression.”
More information may be found at www.Ringling.org or please call 941-358-3180.
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About The Ringling
The Ringling is a pre-eminent center for the arts, history and learning that is dedicated to bringing the past and contemporary culture to life through extraordinary visitor experiences. From its inception, The Ringling has joined the diverse visual traditions and theatrical spectacle of yesterday with the genre-defying global practitioners of today.
A place of exploration, discovery and respite, The Ringling’s campus in Sarasota, Florida – which includes the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, an historic mansion, an 18th-century theater and bayfront gardens – is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As the State Art Museum of Florida and part of Florida State University, The Ringling fulfills an important educational mission. The Ringling offers formal and informal programs of study serving as a major resource for students, scholars, and lifelong learners of every age within the region, across the country and around the world.
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