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Out & About: Ai Weiwei’s Animals of the Zodiac

David Coggins muses on our new neighbor

5 5 2011

5 4 11

Ai Weiwei Animals of the Zodiac

The merry band of animal sculptures installed at Pulitzer Fountain is Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s first major public work in America.

Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads is a series of 12 cast bronze heads of the animals of the Zodiac, each weighing about 800 pounds. Yesterday’s unveiling was a bittersweet affair—the artist is in the Chinese government’s custody, and there are continuing world-wide calls for his release. It’s small comfort that his work is currently being celebrated in two great settings: London’s Tate Modern and now here in New York. At the ceremony, Mayor Bloomberg referred to Ai as ‘one of the world’s most creative and public citizens.’

Amen to that.

— David Coggins

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