Sunday, January 27, 2013

the sidewinder sleeps tonight

Extending a hand to those in trouble, rescuing the dying, and helping the injured is a form of humanitarianism, unrelated to love of country or people. Do not demean the value of life; it commands a broader, more equal dignity.
 Ai Weiwei (b. 1957) artist and activist

today for sculpture sunday we find three works of chinese artist and activist ai weiwei - i snapped this pics when i  visited his show according to what currently being exhibited at the hirshhorn museum of art in washington dc.    the exhibit quite frankly blew me away with its scope, humanity, and at times outrageousness.

i was reminded of my visit the other day while listening to a terrific story on the exhibit which aired on npr - you can listen to the story and see more photos of weiwei's work by clicking HERE.

the exhibit will be on view at the hirshhorn until february 24th, then it will be heading to indianapolis, toronto, miami, and brooklyn - catch it if you can,  it is powerful and provocative.

photos of works: top - snake ceiling  on may 12th 2008 a powerful earthquake hit sichuan china.  approximately 90,000 people went missing.  many of the victims were school children and the children's backpacks were strew all over the quake zone. in this piece packs of various sizes are used to form a snake and are "laid out as a  requiem for the souls of those who perished in the disaster." 

middle: he xie - words for river crabs and also a homophone for harmonious - a word which is used in communist  party slogan "toward a harmonious society" - this piece can be considered a work of protest and satire.  in response to chinese government censorship -which includes shutting down internet sites, the demolition of weiwei's studio, and general acts of governmental censorship and censure - weiwei twitted to "invite guests to a feast of 10,000 river crabs in protest of the government's control of information."

bottom:  didn't snap the gallery sign and can't locate my exhibit catalog at the moment - will have to get back to you with the name for this sculptural installation.  it is quite large and lends itself to lots of interactive play.

i thought perhaps a song that somehow had something to do with snakes would be good for today's song of the day. first thing that came to mind was r.e.m.'s 1992 song the sidewinder sleeps tonight.


by the way we are just a couple weeks away to the official beginning of the chinese year of the snake.  according to this site (where you can click and read more about the meaning of the year of the snake): 
2013 is the year of the black Snake begins on February 10th shortly after the New moon in Aquarius, the humanitarian of the zodiac. This 2013 year of Snake is meant for steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for you to achieve what you set out to create. The Snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 Animal Signs. It is the enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.


Tom said...

ah, the hirshhorn, one of my all time favorite places in DC. It is inexplicable at all times.

tut-tut said...

The CBS Sunday Morning program also did a piece on him this a.m.; unfortunately, I wasn't here to see it, so I appreciate your post all the more. btw, the tease had Rita Braver (or whomever) with that last sculpture you can't name.

Steve Reed said...

I've seen Ai Weiwei's work at the Tate, though not these pieces. Amazing stuff.