Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds Opens Sat in NY

by Hrag Vartanian on January 2, 2012

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s now infamous (and toxic) sunflower installation at the Tate Modern in London will have a New York version at Chelsea’s Mary Boone Gallery starting this Saturday, January 7.

Seen for the first time in New York, Sunflower Seeds will feature the “hand-formed and painted porcelain” seeds created by the artisans of Chinese city of Jingdezhen, which is known as the country’s “Porcelain Capital” because of its 1,700 year history of producing high-quality porcelain.

The gallery press release explains the significance of the low-carb (it is Chelsea after all) foodstuff in Chinese culture:

… a common metaphor for The People during China’s Cultural Revolution. At the same time, the seeds of the flower provided sustenance at all levels of society, and the ubiquitous discarded husks provided evidence of an individual’s existence.

Btw, don’t worry if you can’t afford Ai’s seeds, because apparently you can buy versions of the same thing for much less on Chinese auction site if you look hard enough.

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  • I was so excited to see the Ai Wei Wei Sunflower Seeds exhibit! It was so lovely to see in person and the pictures really do not do it justice. When I was there, I thought how tedious it must have been to hand craft all of those seeds, but surely the result was beautiful.

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