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See Ai Weiwei’s Chinese zodiac made of Legos at the Ringling Museum

Plus, Tampa Museum of Art presents “the Making of a Museum” and Karen Lamonte takes over the Imagine Museum.
"Ai Weiwei: Zodiac (2018) LEGO" will be on display at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota starting Nov. 16.
"Ai Weiwei: Zodiac (2018) LEGO" will be on display at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota starting Nov. 16. [ Courtesy of Jason Schmidt ]
Published Nov. 13, 2019

LEGO MANIAC: AI WEIWEI

Contemporary Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has previously explored the animals of the Chinese zodiac in gold and bronze sculpture, the latter of which were on display at the Ringling Museum from 2017 to 2018. Now the prolific artist’s work returns to the Ringling, except this time the animals are rendered in Legos. “Ai Weiwei: Zodiac (2018) LEGO” opens Sunday, the first time it has been shown in a museum. He told Art Daily that he was inspired to do the series because he is a collector, and the zodiac was historically rendered in a number of materials, including jade. And animals, he said, are relatable to children and people outside of the art world. The sheer feat of assembling that many small bricks into a recognizable form will inspire. On view through Feb. 2. While you’re there, stop in to see “Remaking the World: Abstraction From the Permanent Collection.” $25, $23 seniors, $15 active duty military, $10 Florida teachers, $5 college students and children 6-17, free for children 5 and younger and select college students. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; open until 8 p.m. Thursdays. 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. (941) 359-5700. ringling.org.

CENTENNIAL: THE MAKING OF A MUSEUM

The Tampa Museum of Art traces its roots back 100 years to a small arts organization in 2020. A celebratory exhibition, “The Making of a Museum: 100 Years, 100 Works,” opens Thursday. The selection from the museum’s permanent collection will include works from its eight sections: classical antiquities, prints and photographs related to classical antiquity, the C. Paul Jennewein Archive, painting, decorative arts and sculpture, photography, works on paper and new media, video and installation art. The exhibit will also highlight the museum’s history. $15, $7.50 seniors, military and Florida educators, $5 students, free for college students with ID, children 6 and younger and members. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday with pay-what-you-will admission after 4 p.m. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Fourth Fridays. 120 W Gasparilla Plaza. (813) 274-8130. tampamuseum.org.

"Zito's Bakery" by Berenice Abbott is part of the Tampa Museum of Art exhibition "The Making of a Museum."
"Zito's Bakery" by Berenice Abbott is part of the Tampa Museum of Art exhibition "The Making of a Museum." [ Courtesy of Tampa Museum of Art ]

KAREN LAMONTE: FLOATING WORLD

Among Imagine Museum’s floors of art from the studio glass movement is a special exhibition, “Floating World,” by artist Karen LaMonte. The artist went to Japan to study the construction of kimonos and the role of the garment in society. When she returned, she cast a series of life-sized ones in glass, clay and bronze. It’s incredible how she captures each fold and crease to create fluidity with such solid materials. LaMonte will be on hand for a number of events, including a Japanese-themed dinner on Friday, an artist’s reception on Saturday and a brunch and book signing on Sunday. Events are $55-$150. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. $10-$15. 1901 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 300-1700. imaginemuseum.com.

Karen LaMonte's kimonos will be on display in her "Floating World" exhibit at the Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg.
Karen LaMonte's kimonos will be on display in her "Floating World" exhibit at the Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Imagine Museum ]