Thursday, May 05, 2011

Ai Weiwei's "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" (2009)

Ai Weiwei's "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" (2009) was officially dedicated yesterday. The twelve bronze statues, each representing a symbol from the Chinese zodiac, can be seen at the Pulitzer Fountain, located at Park Ave South and Fifth Avenue, New York City. Mr. Ai was not present at the dedication, as he was detained by the Chinese government back in April for his criticism of the Communist party. The New York Times has an article about the dedication and the calls for Mr. Ai's release here. There is also a review of the exhibition by Roberta Smith in today's paper that you can find here. These sculptures will be touring the United States, visiting Los Angeles, Houston, Washington, and Pittsburgh in the next year or so. Apparently there is another set on display in London.

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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Jennie Cell, Butchering Day (ca. 1955)

It has been quite a while since I last updated this blog, which I started in order to share and keep track of interesting material as I worked on my contribution to the Reaktion Books "Animal" series. I am now in the final stages of working on PIG, which will appear in print this summer after a long gestation. A lot of material from this blog made it into the book, but given the immensity of the human-pig relationship and the small size of the Reaktion "Animal" series books, there's obviously a lot that was left out. I was just at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., where I discovered a lovely piece of folk art that would have been a perfect illustration for the book. This illustration by Jennie Cell (1905-1988) depicts a scene from everyday life that would have been quite familiar in many social environments throughout the world--traditional hog butchering and meat preparation. Her Butchering Day (ca. 1955) is the first of what I am sure will be many images that I wish I had found in time.

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