|Moon Chest, 2008. Seven chests in huali wood, each 126"x63"x31.5". Photo: Susan Yung|
|Bowls of Pearls (detail), 2006, porcelain bowls (ea. 15"x38.5") filled with |
freshwater pearls. Stockamp Tsai Collection. Photo: Susan Yung
|He Xie, 2010, 3200 porcelain crabs. Photo: Susan Yung|
Cube in Ebony is a 40" cube of rosewood, a dense block with a mesmerizing carved surface inspired by a small keepsake box of his father's. A couple of big doghouse-sized Teahouses made of compressed tea sit atop a floor of tea leaves, emitting an evocative fragrance. And Kippe is a rectangular stack of lustrous salvaged wood and decorative architectural elements that recall the obsessive nature of his family's well-stacked pile of firewood.
|Kippe, 2006, Iron wood from dismantled temples of the Qing Dynasty, iron bar. 71.5"x112.5"x41".Collection of Honus Tandijono. |
Photo: Susan Yung
Some of the photographic, video, and smaller works are vaguely reminiscent of familiar late-20th century Russian exiles such as Komar & Melamid and their more recent compatriots who wove Soviet and Russian touchstones into their art. Ai's reputation has grown as his encounters with Chinese authorities became news fodder, in addition to scandals such as lead levels in his ceramic sunflower seed field (Tate) and a vandal smashing one of the Colored Vases in Miami recently. If the former weren't comprising a vast roomful, and the latter an extremely valuable ancient vase, and both put together by a now-oppressed Chinese dissident, would it be self-perpetuating news? But it is the sum total of the opulence, scale, and personal history that does make it news, and worth seeing. Through August 10.