July 2020 East Hampton, NY - East Hampton outdoor sculpture garden, LongHouse Reserve welcomes Ai Weiwei’s Circle of animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze, now open to the public through October 2021.
NYC VIBE was on hand for the installation of the 12 spectacular bronze animal heads, each ten-feet tall, representing the traditional figures of the Chinese Zodiac, were erected around the perimeter of Longhouse's outdoor Albee Amphitheater. This is the third time the famed Chinese artist has participated with Longhouse; in 1993 he was honored with the prestigious Longhouse Award, which at the time he was under house arrest in Beijing, later the award was hand carried to Ai in Germany upon his release.
That year, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold was also exhibited at Longhouse Reserve making it the 50th exhibition over a ten-year period.
The enormous distances Zodiac Heads have travelled is in contrast to the experience of many, including the artist. In 2011, Ai was released from secret captivity by Chinese Authorities, but his passport was confiscated and he remained under house arrest. For the duration of the exhibition in Chicago in 2014 Zodiac Heads were exhibited hooded as a reminder that the artist was still held in China. In 2016 Ai was finally granted travel and flew to Prague to see the Zodiac Heads for the first time in person.
Each Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads sculpture ranges in weight from 1,500 to 2,100 pounds and is supported by a buried marble base weighing 600 to 1,000 pound. Each are displayed according to the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pigs. The sculptures’ combined weight of over 46,000 pounds which required
massive lifts to move them into place among the trees and flowers of Longhouse’s gardens.