Bamboo. That invasive, kind of creepy plant last seen stabbing skyward on my side of the fence between me and my neighbors houses is front and center at the Ai Weiwei: Life Cycle show at the Marciano Foundation.
Most of my thoughts about bamboo up to this point have been either “I need to immediately chop that down” or “its cute that panda is eating that crap”. I would never think that that vaguely reptilian weed plant could be dried, bent and secured to make giant mythological creatures that reference Chinese kite making, toy culture, Indonesian shadow puppets, Chinese mythology and the global refugee crisis while also being pretty cool looking.
“EVERYTHIIING IIISS AAWESOOOMMMEEE!” Unsurprisingly, the rapid Lego-ization of our culture continues unabated. First Batman and Jurassic Park, and now here are the small plastic humanoids popping up in the middle of a contemporary art show about Chinese kite making and refugees.
The word “bamboo” was invented by some Dutchman stumbling around Southeast Asia probably mispronouncing a Thai word. This hits home for me as a white dude stumbling around Southern California mispronouncing Mexican, Armenian and Korean stuff all the time but loving it just the same.