Art News

LACMA Displays First Major Public Sculpture by Chinese Contemporary Artist Ai Weiwei

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is displaying the first major public sculpture by Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, titled Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. The installation comprises twelve monumental bronze animal heads that are re-creations of the famous traditional zodiac sculptures that once adorned the fountain clock of Yuan Ming Yuan, the Old Summer Palace, located just outside Beijing. For LACMA’s presentation, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads is on view outdoors just east of the museum’s Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion. Cast around 1750, the original animal heads were located at the Zodiac fountain in Yuan Ming Yuan’s European-style gardens, which were designed by two European Jesuit priests in the eighteenth century. In 1860, British and French troops looted the heads amid the destruction of Yuan Ming Yuan during the Second Opium War. Today, seven heads—the ra