HANGING from the ceiling of the magnificent rotunda that Frank Lloyd Wright created for the Guggenheim Museum in 1959 is an undulating black dragon. Twenty-six metres (85 feet) long, it is made almost entirely of the inner tubes of bicycles. Its head is a sculptural confection of broken cycles, its rear a writhing excrescence of black rubber loops. The visual etymology is obviously and satisfyingly Chinese. Then you notice hundreds of tiny black cars crawling all over its underbelly, like head lice on a schoolchild—symbolic of the moment when the country, in the headlong pursuit of economic growth, swerved from pedal power to petroleum.
This work, “Precipitous Parturition” by Chen Zhen, a Chinese-French conceptual artist, is at once fiercely visual, emotional and political. It is the most grandiose work in the Guggenheim’s magnificent new exposition of art, by 71 artists and artists’ collectives, that was made…Continue reading
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