Denver Arts & Venues announces extension of Ai Weiwei's "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads"
Sep 20 2018
Denver Arts & Venues is pleased to announce that Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” (originally slated to be sent to its next destination in October) will extend its stay in Denver’s Civic Center Park through January 2019.
“Denver has embraced ‘Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads’ as a featured piece in Civic Center Park, attracting residents and visitors daily,” says Tariana Navas-Nieves, Denver Arts & Venues cultural affairs director. “I am thrilled and feel privileged to extend its stay. Ai Weiwei’s work not only examines the complex intersection of artistic practice and social activism, but these sculptures are also playful, engaging and accessible to all.”
“Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads,” a set of 12 one-ton bronze animal heads representing the Asian Zodiac, can be found arced around Sea Lions Fountain at the north end of Civic Center Park. Its companion educational exhibit: "Ai Weiwei: Art & Social Change" is housed on the first floor of McNichols Civic Center Building.
Both “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” and “Ai Weiwei: Art & Social Change” were funded by Denver Arts & Venues with additional support from Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. In addition, Denver Arts & Venues has created a video series in which local celebrities discuss their relationship to their zodiac animal.
More information is available at AiWeiweiDenver.com.
About Denver Arts & Venues
Denver Arts & Venues’ mission is to amplify Denver’s quality of life and economic vitality through premier public venues, arts and entertainment opportunities. Arts & Venues is the City and County of Denver agency responsible for operating some of the region’s most renowned facilities, including Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Colorado Convention Center, Denver Coliseum and McNichols Civic Center Building. Arts & Venues also oversees the Denver Public Art Program, Create Denver, SCFD Tier III granting process, Arts Education Fund and other entertainment and cultural events such as the Five Points Jazz Festival, Urban Arts Fund, P.S. You Are Here and implementation of IMAGINE 2020: Denver’s Cultural Plan. Denver Arts & Venues is committed to diversity, equity and inclusiveness in all our programs, initiatives and decision-making processes.
About “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads
The “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” (2010) sculpture series by Ai Weiwei is a reinterpretation of the 12 bronze animal heads from the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the famous fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan (the Garden of Perfect Brightness), an imperial retreat near Beijing. The original bronze sculptures were designed in the 18th century by Jesuit priests. In 1860, the Yuanming Yuan was ransacked by French and British troops, and the heads were pillaged. By recreating these artistic and historical objects, Ai Weiwei addresses questions of looting and repatriation while exploring ideas of the 'fake' (the copy) in relation to an allusive original.
About Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei (born 1957, Beijing) is one of the world’s most influential and inspiring figures. His work has been shown around the globe and at major institutions and international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale; the Guangzhou Triennial; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Tate Modern, London; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Hirshhorn Museum, DC; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; The Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; and Haus der Kunst, Munich, among numerous other venues. Widely recognized as an outspoken artist-activist, Ai Weiwei’s diverse aesthetic practice includes photography, ceramics, sculpture, installation, architecture, documentary film and digital projects. Ai Weiwei consistently uses his art as a platform for addressing social conditions and he remains fiercely committed to basic human rights and freedom of expression for all people.