Ai WeiWei Circle of Animals tour hits Houston in 2012; collectors (and news bloggers) salivate

by Bill Davenport May 31, 2011

The Houston Art Alliance is fundraising to bring jailed dissident Chinese artist Ai WeiWei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads to Houston. The piece (one of two copies) is owned by a US collection, and has already appeared in Sao Paulo and New York (and has illustrated nearly every article on the artist’s arrest and detainment by Chinese authorities). Organized in collaboration with Chinese art boosters AW Asia, the heads  will make a stop in Los Angeles, then arrive in Hermann Park in Houston in January 2012. Although private donors and corporations will foot most of the $180,000 bill for the show, approximately $20,000 of city money will go into the pot. There’s nothing like being in the papers to raise one’s prices: collectors and museums are scrambling to acquire Ai’s pieces; Asian art curator Christine Starkman admits that his detention has intensified her long-held desire to acquire one of his works for the MFAH.

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