Ai Weiwei’s art projects and political statements have triggered various forms of repression from Chinese authorities, and the portraits in Trace were made while he was under house arrest. I remember donating huge boxes of leftover LEGO® pieces when I heard about the portraits he was creating of victims of political and systemic struggles. I wonder if any made it into his art pieces.
I have installed The Animal That Looks Like a Llama but Is Really an Alpaca at other fine art galleries and public spaces, but never on such a massive scale. Although only three of the original six LEGO® floor panels are shown at the Skirball, it is quite a large installation taking up more than thirty-thousand square feet. We printed one hundred 4 x 12–foot 3M pressure-sensitive vinyl panels that we laminated and installed over a two-week period during the Skirball’s closure.
Installation was my favorite part of this project because it allowed me to reconnect with my colleagues and the gallery spaces we had missed for months. I’m very fortunate that during the shutdown we were still creating and collaborating on many art projects and exhibitions that the public will finally get to visit in person. I’ve appreciated all the COVID-19 safety precautions that everyone has followed to prepare for LA museums’ long-awaited reopening to the public. To me, art is essential. We need museums and cultural institutions for our mental and physical well-being. It is so therapeutic to see your favorite piece of art or to watch a gallery space transform for its latest exhibition.
—Eder Cetina, CEO and Executive Creative Director, Wilson Cetina Group