Happy New Year, you dog you! Actually, that is only for people born in the Chinese Calendar Years are Dogs: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and, drum roll, 2018! The Chinese New Year doesn’t begin until Feb. 16, but since today is our New Year’s Eve, we will explore that idea now, with a photo of the “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” installation on the Ringling Museum grounds in Sarasota, a creation of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, sculptor, photographer, installation artist, architect and social activist,
Each of the bronze animal heads measures approximately 4 feet high and 3 feet wide, elevated to between 9.8 and 12 feet high on their columns. Each sculpture weighs approximately 800 pounds. This group of works has been exhibited worldwide since the official launch of the Zodiac Heads in 2011, making it one of the most viewed sculpture projects in the history of contemporary art.
The bronze statues are quite textural, and I converted them to gray scale to play up that element for this challenge. If you haven’t seen the Zodiac heads, they are on display through June 1, 2018. And because they are on the grounds and not inside the museum, you can view them for free. Or go to the museum on Mondays when the museum is free, too.
If you are in Sarasota and haven’t yet been to the ‘Pathless Woods’ exhibit at the Ringling Museum, it still has a couple of weeks to go and is a fun thing to do. This from the museum website: “Pathless Woods is an interactive, multi-media installation in which the visitor is invited to walk through a forest of ribbons – sometimes the path is very clear and at other times it is not. The title is taken from a line of Byron’s poetry, ‘There is a pleasure in the pathless woods’ and references that the visitor can find his or her own path through the installation with each choice determining outcome.” The outcome for me was a fulfillment of the Stripes challenge!
The John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art has the usual galleries filled with world-class art for visitors to ponder and ogle. But its grounds command attention, too. Several ponds are located on the sprawling estate, including the pond by The Muse, the museum’s restaurant. Dining there al fresco is always a pleasure. From the raised patio you view the wild side of Ringling, such as this softshell turtle sunning himself on a beautiful Florida day. He lives with Koi fish and water birds and other aquatic life. I have also seen a garter snake slithering near my table. Yikes!
The grounds of the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art are extensive and appointed here and there with classical statuary. This “topless” nymph is gracing the edge of the pond near the Visitors Pavilion. If you go, stroll the grounds and take in the beauty, serenity and surprises of this Sarasota gem.
I love to visit the Ringling Museum of Art. As a member, I go whenever the spirit moves me, but I don’t always visit Ca d’Zan, John and Mabel Ringling’s 1920s-era Venetian mansion on Sarasota Bay. I was there a few weeks ago on a beautiful day and stopped to take a photo of the house before touring it. The setting is so lovely, I decided I want one! Alas, it is not for sale. 😉
Again, back at the Ringling Museum, there is a little-known graveyard. There lie John Ringling, his wife, Mabel Burton Ringling and his sister, Ida Ringling North. John died in 1936, his wife in 1929 and his sister in 1950; however, it was only in 1991 that the three were interred on the museum grounds. The strange tale is briefly told in the June 5, 1991 Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
“Fifty-five years after his death, circus king John Ringling has been laid to rest. With him, his family buries a feud that left Ringling’s remains in a temporary vault for more than half a century.
“Ringling, his wife, Mable, and sister Ida Ringling North were buried Tuesday in a private ceremony at the Ringling Museum of Art here.
“The burial ends years of family fighting over Ringling’s final resting place and whether the three should be interred together in Sarasota, still the winter home of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ ”Greatest Show on Earth.”
“A state appeals court ended the dispute last year by upholding a judge’s ruling that the three should be buried together on the museum grounds. That’s where Henry Ringling North, John’s nephew and Ida’s son, wanted them buried.
One side of the family, including two of Ringling’s grandnieces and a grandnephew, was willing to allow Ringling and his wife to be buried on the property. But they didn’t want Ida there because she had nothing to do with the circus.”
R.I.P., John, Mabel and Ida.
Talk about out of control, along the path to the Ca d’Zan Mansion on the grounds of the Ringling Museum, I saw this eerie scene. Many banyan trees grace the property, thanks to Thomas Edison (a friend of the late John Ringling back in the 1920s), and this particular tree is totally out of control, wrapping around a cherub like a boa constrictor. Gave me the willies.
A January visit to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota (what a wonderful place) produced this image that fulfilled The S Curve theme. This is the walkway that links to two wings in the main museum, and takes you right past Sarasota’s David.