Ai Weiwei. Iron Tree, 2013 - Recent Acquisition Details

Ai Weiwei. Iron Tree, 2013

Ai Weiwei. Iron Tree, 2013

Feb 3, 2016

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park announced the acquisition of a major work by one of the most renowned cultural and political figures in the world, Ai Weiwei. Iron Tree is the artist’s largest, most complex outdoor sculpture to date. Composed of 99 unique iron pieces cast from individual tree elements from southern China, Iron Tree seems a living tree in form, but upon closer examination, the exaggeration of reality and appearance of bolts on the iron surfaces create a much different image. Weiwei has been a champion of free speech and highly critical of the Chinese government, leading to his imprisonment and house arrest. “The opportunity to acquire such a profoundly important work by one of the most significant artists of our time is a truly momentous occasion,” said Joseph Becherer, Vice President and Chief Curator at Meijer Gardens. Iron Tree was made possible through the generosity of Fred and Lena Meijer. The Meijer Gardens also announces the opening of The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden. The eight-acre project features traditional components such as waterfalls, extensive boulder placement, and a Japanese teahouse. “Fred Meijer’s dream for such a garden for his wife Lena, and of Richard and Helen DeVos has become my dream, too. My wish is that the beauty and tranquility of this space will touch visitors very deeply,” said Hoichi Kurisu, the garden’s master designer and president of Kurisu International, Inc. The Japanese Garden will feature seven works by major international artists: Anish Kapoor, Zhang Huan, David Nash, Masayuki Koorida, George Rickey, Jenny Holtzer and Giuseppe Penone. “Reflecting the very mission of Meijer Gardens at large, and the commitment to horticulture and sculpture, the careful selection of these seven works make a significant contribution to the collection and to the larger notion of collecting within the history of art,” said Chief Curator and Vice President, Joseph Becherer.