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.
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.
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.