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Ai Weiwei installations headed to Austin

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Two major works by renowned Chinese artist to be shown at Waller Creek and Contemporary Austin—Laguna Gloria

row of golden crumply statues by artist Ai Wei Wei on Prague street with Prague-looking buildings in background
Ai Weiwei sculptures Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads in Prague
Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images

Two monumental installations by internationally renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei are headed to Austin, thanks to a partnership between the Contemporary Austin and Waller Creek Conservancy.

The Conservancy announced Monday that the large-scale, major works will be on view to the public starting June 3 and will be here on long-term loan, with closing dates yet to be announced.

The Contemporary Austin will install Ai’s Forever Bicycles (2014) at the Waller Delta (74 Trinity Street, adjacent to the Boathouse). Iron Tree Trunk (2015) will be on view at The Contemporary Austin's Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria.

A large, silver-looking abstract sculpture outside a mirrored building
Ai Weiwei, Forever, 2014, Installation view, Sculpture in the City, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition, London, 2015.
Artwork © Ai Weiwei Studio. Courtesy the artist, Lisson Gallery, and Sculpture in the City/City of London. Photograph by Nick Turpin.

The exhibitions are part of the Contemporary’s Museum Without Walls program and, according to the Austin American-Statesman’s Michael Barnes, were enabled in part by a $1.1 million grant from the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation.

Barnes’ article summarizes Ai’s high-profile career as an activist critical of the Chinese government—via his writing, international media, art, and establishment of the Citizen Investigation Group, which, writes Barnes, “independently researched the disaster and provided profiles of the children killed when shabbily constructed schoolhouses collapsed.” Ai has been held under house arrest and jailed in Beijing in the past.

Color photo of artist in white shirt and black jacket
Ai Weiwei in New York City, 2016, at the WSJ. Magazine 2016 Innovator Awards
Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for WSJ. Magazine Innovators Awards

He now produces sculpture, photography, film, writing, architecture, and social media in Berlin and Beijing, according to Barnes.

There will be a family-friendly celebration at the Waller Creek installation to celebrate the opening of both works to the public on June 3.

Ai Weiwei, renowned Chinese artist/activist, sending 2 works to Austin [AAS]