Twelve bronze sculptures representing the animals of the Chinese zodiac, by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, are the latest temporary exhibition in National Museum of Wildife Art, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, since 9th May.
The sculptures of the animal’s heads, each one with ten feet tall and 800 pounds, were installed outside the museum, a institution with over 5000 art works from 550 artists about wildlife.
The exhibition “Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” will be at the museum until 11th October.
The animals – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig – are installed in the order of their appearance in the Chinese zodiac, and are re-envisionings of the originals designed for the fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan (Garden of Perfect Brightness) in the 18th century, during the Qing dynasty (1644–1912). Yuanming Yuan was destroyed during the Second Opium War (1856–60).
“This series is an important artistic statement for our time, demonstrating how contemporary art can keep history alive,” said James C. McNutt, President and CEO of the National Museum of Wildlife Art. “The powerful installation ‘Zodiac Heads’ will be an imposing and dramatic presence against the magnificent Jackson landscape.”
This exhibition by Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most prolific and provocative contemporary artists, arrives in Jackson after being exhibited in Mexico City, Chicago, London, Toronto, New York, São Paulo, Taipei, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
The National Museum of Wildlife Art was founded in 1987 and holds more than 5,000 catalogued items representing wild animals from around the world, by mostly European and American artists. But the museum wants to broaden the scope of the collection to include wildlife art from around the world. Recent acquisitions include works from Africa and New Zealand.