AAP staff writer
TORONTO (July 15, 2013) — For the first time in his brilliant and controversial career, Chinese artist/dissident Ai WeiWei will have his art works on display in North America.
From June through October, Ai’s art works are on prominent display in Toronto. I got a glimpse of them in my current visit to Toronto.
Ai, who gained international fame with his original and provocative art works and his open criticism of the Chinese Communist Government, is featured in two separate exhibits in Canada’s largest city.
In mid-June, Ai’s sculptures artwork, titled Circles of Animals/Zodiac Heads, was officially unveiled outside of Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto’s City Hall.
Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, 12 bronze heads of animals from the Chinese zodiac mounted on poles, each about three metres high and weighing an average of 350 kilograms, will be on public view through Sept. 22.
Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads precedes Ai’s much anticipated exhibit — Ai Weiwei: According to What — opening on Aug. 17 and running through Oct. 27 at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), also in downtown Toronto.
The exhibit is already drawing crowds — and controversy — at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.
Featuring photographs, sculpture, installation art and audio and video pieces, Ai Weiwei: According to What? examines how the artist spotlights the complexities of a changing world and probes such issues as freedom of expression, individual and human rights, the power of digital communication and the range of creative practice that characterizes contemporary art today both in China and globally.
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), has invited Ai to attend the exhibit, but Ai remains unable to leave China ever since his 2011 detention and organizers are not optimistic of his presence.
The exhibit continues on the North American tour with future stops in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Miami, and New York City.