Ai Weiwei: Imprisoned but not Silenced

The Los Angeles Times interviews Ai Weiwei about his exhibit Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, which is currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

The terms of Ai’s release forbid him from discussing his legal case. But on Friday, Ai spoke by phone from Beijing about his artwork, specifically his touring installation “Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads,” which opens Saturday at the Los Angeles County Museum of and runs through February.

The artist, 54, was clearly in a chatty mood and the conversation touched on his health and even his recent return to Twitter.

Ai won’t be able to attend the opening of “Circle” at LACMA because he is confined to Beijing as part of his bail arrangement. “Circle” features large-scale statue heads of the Chinese zodiac and is inspired by those at China’s Yuanming Yuan palace, which was pillaged by British and French military forces in 1860.

“It’s about the future and the past, and how China is looked at today and how it looks at itself,” explained Ai. “It has many, many different layers — is it art or not art, and to what degree?”

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