The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Sarasota, FL
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Ai Weiwei: Zodiac LEGO
Nov 17, 2019 – Feb 2, 2020

Sarasota, Florida-Acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei will return to The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art with his new Zodiac (2018) LEGO series, on view in the Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art from Nov. 17, 2019-Feb. 2, 2020. The 12 impressive portraits in the series are made entirely of LEGO pieces and measure 90 x 90 inches each. The Zodiac LEGO series demonstrates the artist’s continued focus on the zodiac animal concept and this latest body of work builds on the success of his internationally acclaimed Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze and Gold (2010) sculpture series, which The Ringling hosted in the outdoor garden area of the museum during 2017-2018. Both series celebrate Ai Weiwei’s reinterpretation of the 12 bronze animal heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace), an imperial retreat outside Beijing. The Ringling will be the first museum in the United States to host the Zodiac LEGO series (besides its commercial debut at Deitch Gallery in Los Angeles in 2018).

The Zodiac (2018) series continues Ai Weiwei’s tendency toward the accumulation of materials, a creative method the artist has employed for many of his best-known works. His interest in amassing and collecting connects with his ongoing interest in how individuals relate to society through experience. Ai Weiwei’s use of LEGO bricks, usually considered a children’s toy- is a poignant example of his singular art practice and the reconfiguration of this basic material, transforming the narrative and nature of this medium.

Steven High, the Ringling’s Executive Director said, “We are pleased to once again present the though-provoking work of this important artist. His works, which are produced in a multitude of mediums bring awareness to global issues including human rights and freedom of expression.”

The Ringling Set to Open Remaking the World: Abstraction from the Permanent Collection
Nov. 10, 2019- Aug. 1, 2021
Searing Wing

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is pleased to present an exhibition of Abstract Expressionism, on view from Nov. 10, 2019, through Aug. 2, 2021. Drawing on the Museum’s permanent collection of modern and contemporary art, the exhibition titled Remaking the World: Abstraction from the Permanent Collection assembles more than 20 paintings and sculptures by European and American artists associated with Abstract Expressionism.

The exhibition will feature recent bequests to the museum from the collection of Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman: paintings by Joan Mitchell (American, 1925-1992) and Robert Motherwell (American, 1915-1991), as well as a monumental painting by Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1929), a promised gift from Keith D. and Linda L. Monda.

As early as the 1940s, artists from this critical modern art movement sought to transform New York’s art scene with revolutionary approaches to the canvas: splattering, spilling, dabbing, washing and dripping paint. These innovative techniques rooted in deliberate yet spontaneous gestures of a brush or palette knife, along with emphasis on individuality and the subconscious as subject matter, affirmed and politicized the role art played in the evolution of postwar American society.

A local connection evolved as a number of artists working in abstraction traveled south to enjoy the warm climate and pursue various teaching and art residency opportunities. Sarasota and the Tampa Bay area became a second home to artists David Budd, John Chamberlain, Jimmy Ernst, Gabriel Kohn, Conrad Marca-Relli and Syd Solomon, all of whom were instrumental in establishing a vital art scene in the area while often opting to teach in the local community.

Ola Wlusek, the Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, said: “Abstraction was a rebuttal to the representational and narrative art favored by directors, curators, critics and gallerists of the time. Today, the artists in the exhibition are celebrated for giving shape to a new art for a world emerging from war. The abstract expressionists’ considerable ingenuity and perseverance forged a path for generations of artists to follow.”

Tour Du Monde Poster Exhibition
Oct 18, 2019 – Jan 13, 2020
Circus Museum: Tibbals Learning Center

Circuses, expositions, and other forms of popular entertainment enchanted Western audiences with exotic peoples from faraway places in the nineteenth century. These entertainments had a profound impact on the way Westerners perceived the peoples of other parts of the world. This exhibition features a selection of the posters produced to advertise these living attractions. The posters reveal the different lenses through which their subjects were viewed by the public in Europe and America. Some are suggestive of an ethnological approach, while others clearly emphasize spectacle.

Sun Xun: Time Spy
Aug 11, 2019 – Feb 16, 2020

Free with Museum Admission

Time Spy (2016) is a mesmerizing 3D animated film by Chinese artist Sun Xun (b.1980). A superb painter and draughtsman, Sun Xun incorporates traditional techniques including ink painting, charcoal drawing, and woodblock printing into his films. His masterful use of analog and digital technologies to explore pressing concerns of our time makes him one of the most compelling artists working in new media.

Based in Beijing, Sun Xun was born in Fuxin, northeast China. He studied printmaking at the China Academy of Fine Arts, and founded Pi animation studio in 2006. Growing up in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, he has long been interested in how history is constructed for official purposes, as opposed to how it is lived and experienced by ordinary people. He has been the subject of solo and group exhibitions at major museums worldwide, and has received numerous honors.

Time Spy was conceived as part of a project called Reconstruction of the Universe, a multimedia installation Sun Xun made for the second edition of the Audemars Piguet Art Commission, a prestigious program that supports artists in the creation of works of “exceptional complexity, precision, and experiential impact.” A shortened version was screened at midnight at Times Square in July 2017.

Sun Xun’s Time Spy will be on view in the Pavilion Gallery, Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Center for Asian Art, August 11, 2019–February 16, 2020.Time Spy comes to The Ringling Museum of Art courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.

Support for this exhibition has been provided by the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Ringling Museum Endowment, and the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation Ringling Museum Endowment.

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