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Ai Weiwei’s Life Cycle at the Marciano Art Foundation

“Life Cycle” by Ai Weiwei is now on view at the Marciano Art Foundation in Windsor Square (photo from

LA residents have an extraordinary opportunity to see the work of Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei, who now has three exhibits in the city.  The closest to us is at the Marciano Art Foundation in Windsor Square.  The exhibit features “Life Cycle,” the central piece in the artist’s first major institutional exhibition in Los Angeles. The new and unseen work is Ai’s sculptural response to the global refugee crisis.

On view for the first time in MAF’s Black Box, Life Cycle (2018) references the artist’s 2017 monumental sculpture Law of the Journey, Ai’s response to the global refugee crisis that used inflatable black PVC rubber in the shape of makeshift boats used to reach Europe. In this new iteration, Life Cycle depicts an inflatable boat through the traditional Chinese language of kite-making, exchanging the PVC rubber for bamboo. Ai first engaged with the traditional medium in 2014 in the installation With Wind created for the @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz exhibition in San Francisco, and this piece represents the artist’s further embrace of this ancient Chinese craft.

A fascinating time-lapse video of Ai Weiwei’s “Life Cycle” as it was being installed over three weeks, including narration by the artist himself can be found on the LA Times website . The film is by Jeremy Eichenbaum and the Los Angeles Video Club. The video is part of a feature story on how Ai’s work almost did not make it to LA., and contains some wonderful images of the exhibit  that capture fragility and stunning beauty of his work.  Readers can also find  LA Times Art Critic Christopher Knight’s review there as well.

The exhibition  also includes iconic installations Sunflower Seeds (2010) and Spouts (2015) within the Foundation’s Theater Gallery. “Life Cycle” is on view at the Foundation from September 28, 2018 – March 3, 2019.

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, 2010 (detail photo from Marciano Art Foundation website)

Additional works by Ai Weiwei will also be seen in two gallery exhibitions opening in the next several days. “Zodiac” opens Saturday at the new Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, 925 N. Orange Drive, in Hollywood. “Cao/Humanity” will be at UTA Artists Space, 403 Foothill Road, Beverly Hills, beginning Thursday, according to the Times.

Tickets to the Marciano Art Foundation exhibit are free but require reservations, which can be made on the MAF website.  Tickets admit visitors to all exhibitions on view, including Ai Weiwei’s Life Cycle and Yayoi Kusama’s With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever. Tickets were readily available at the time of this post.

“With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever “(2011) by Yayoi Kusama is also on display at MAF  (Photo: Charles White / © YAYOI KUSAMA)
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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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