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Sue Bush
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Elephant Rising

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, February 06, 2006

Huang yong ping's elephant sculpture was hoisted to MASS MoCA's second floor on Feb. 6.[Photo by Paul Renaud]
North Adams - Some people couldn't believe their eyes.

A life-sized concrete elephant was hoisted up to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's second floor yesterday [Feb. 6] afternoon but the undertaking was not without challenges.

The elephant's great size called for creative measures.

"It's definitely too big for the elevator," said Katherine Myers, MASS MoCA'sdirector of marketing and public relations.

Several morning attempts to raise the artwork of Huang yong ping were halted when problems developed; the problems were solved when straps placed around the elephant were moved and secured around a base, or platform, instead, said Myers.

The first retrospective of the Chinese-born, Paris-based Huang yong ping will be installed at MASS MoCA from March 18 to February 19, 2007, according to information provided by MASS MoCa. The Marshall Street museum is the only East Coast venue to host the exhibition, Myers said.

The artist designed the exhibition as a "total work of art" and "a singular, immersive sculptural environment that is a hybrid of diorama, excavation, menagerie, and exploratorium." "House of Oracles" features over 40 art works from 1985 to the present, including "Bat Project IV." "Bat Project IV" is a full-size recreation of a section of a U.S. surveillance plane that ignited international controversy when it collided with a Chinese fighter jet in 2001.

According to MoCA information, "'House of Oracles' is a metaphorical and sometimes literal journey through the 'belly of the beast', challenging accepted notions of what art is, what art does, and systems of thought both past and present."

MASS MoCA Director Joseph C. Thompson said the museum is honored and privileged to be the sole east Coast venue for the exhibition.

"Huang yong ping is one of those artists whose work we've returned to several times in the past six years," Thompson said. "We admire him so much in fact that with House of Oracles, he becomes the only artist to have participated in three different exhibitions at MASS MoCA. It is an honor and a privilege to be the only East Coast venue for his stunning retrospective of his groundbreaking work and we're delighted to present the work in the context of a series of exhibition of new work from China which began with Cai Gou-Qiang's 'Inopportune.'"
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