China’s most famous international artist — the designer of Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium built for the 2008 Olympics — is the subject of two exhibits right now in D.C. In advance of October’s major survey of the artist’s work, Ai WeiWei: According to What?, the Hirshhorn features the artist’s monumental outdoor installation “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads,” showcasing the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac. Through Feb. 24, 2013. Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit hirshhorn.si.edu.
Meanwhile, in conjunction with the forthcoming Hirshhorn exhibit, the Smithsonian’s Asian Art-focused Sackler Gallery presents, in a Perspectives exhibit, WeiWei’s 2005 monumental installation “Fragments.” A seemingly chaotic, all-wood structure that the artist has called an “irrational structure,” the installation, when viewed from above, actually demarcates the borders of a map of China — wry commentary on the bewildering state of a rapidly changing society. Through April 7, 2013. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Call 202-633-4800 or visti asia.si.edu.
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