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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (March 2, 2015)
Page 8 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
March 2, 2015
Meijer Gardens adds sculpture by artist-activist Ai Weiwei
AI WEIWEI ORIGINAL. “Iron Tree,” a large
iron sculpture by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei,
is seen in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The sculpture,
which was designed to prompt thoughts about how
different people and cultures come together, has been
acquired by the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture
Park in western Michigan, according to the organiza-
tion. (AP Photo/Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture
Park, Dean Van Dis)
By David Runk
The Associated Press
ETROIT — A large iron sculpture
by Chinese artist and activist Ai
Weiwei that’s designed to prompt
thoughts about how different people and
cultures come together has been acquired
by the Frederik Meijer Gardens &
Sculpture Park in western Michigan,
according to the organization.
Made of 99 iron pieces, the reddish
sculpture called “Iron Tree” looks like a
tree without leaves, but oversize stainless
steel bolts that hold it together give it a
appearance. A mold for each piece was
made from branches and other wood the
artist found being sold in southern China,
said Joseph Becherer, vice president and
chief curator at Meijer Gardens.
“Before there was an ‘Iron Tree’ there
was a wooden tree and each piece of wood
was from a different tree,” Becherer said in
a telephone interview.
Ai, a sculptor, author, and installation
artist whose work is well-known
internationally, isn’t allowed to travel
outside of China. He spent nearly three
months in prison in China in 2011 and last
year directed the transformation of the
former island prison of Alcatraz into a
tribute to the world’s political prisoners.
With “Iron Tree,” Becherer said the more
than 22-foot-tall sculpture’s size and detail
help make it compelling.
“From a distance it registers as a tree,
but when you get up close you realize that
it’s composed of all these different parts,”
Meijer Gardens worked with Ai and his
Beijing studio and foundry to bring the
sculpture to Grand Rapids, and Becherer
said the organization consulted closely
with him on how to display the sculpture
and landscape the site. The acquisition
was supported by Fred and Lena
A dedication ceremony is scheduled for
April 20 as part of events marking the 20th
anniversary of Meijer Gardens. Following
that, Becherer plans a lecture about Ai.
The acquisition and dedication are part
of a series of events planned this year at
the gardens and sculpture park.
“Splendors of Shiga: Treasures from
Japan” is on display ahead of the June
opening of a new Japanese garden. The
exhibit features more than 75 works of art,
most of which have never been displayed
outside Japan. The Richard & Helen
DeVos Japanese Garden is a $22-million
project that includes Zen-style moss and
bonsai gardens as well as bridges,
waterfalls, and a tea house.
Asian carp could be on menu at University of Missouri
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri is
testing recipes and gathering reactions as it considers
adding the invasive Asian carp to the menu in its dining
About 40 students tried different recipes using the fish
during recent taste tests at the Sabai Culinary
Development Kitchen on the Missouri campus, and their
reactions will help the culinary staff decide whether to
serve the fish.
Executive chef Eric Cartwright led preparation of
experimental dishes such as Italian fish stew, pasta
puttanesca with seafood, and bacon and jalapeno
chowder, The Columbia Missourian reported.
“It’s a very versatile product,” said Cartwright, who
noted he heard almost no negative comment from the
taste-testers. “It’s economical, and it has potential.”
Junior Abigail Auner ate a plate of carp in pasta sauce
and said the fish tasted like ground beef. “I’m very
impressed,” said Auner. “I wouldn’t assume it’s fish.”
Professor Mark Morgan, who works in the state’s
Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, has been
trying to find a market for the nuisance fish, which has
invaded rivers across the state. He believes Missouri
NOSHING ON NUISANCE FISH. An Asian carp, jolted by an
electric current from a research boat, jumps from the Illinois River near
Havana, Illinois, in this file photo. The University of Missouri is testing
recipes and gathering reactions as it considers adding the invasive Asian
carp to the menu in its dining halls. (AP Photo/John Flesher, File)
would be the first university in the nation to serve Asian
carp to students.
If approved, food vendors in the Student Center would
be the first to offer the fish, with the possibility of
expanding to other dining locations on campus.
Moser’s Discount Foods last year became the first store
in Missouri to sell Asian carp dishes to retail customers,
offering boneless ground, fillets with some bones, and fish
heads. Meat manager Ron Baucom said sales have been
Morgan said he is working to persuade Mexican and
Chinese restaurants in Columbia to use Asian carp.
Serving Asian carp in the dining halls is primarily
designed to make students aware of the negative impact
the fish is having on rivers from New Orleans to the Great
“It’s a culinary solution to an environmental problem,”
Although a small effort on campus won’t have a
significant impact, “doing something is better than doing
nothing,” Morgan said.
Kitzhaber commutes sentence
of 25-year-old Sang Dao
By Jonathan J. Cooper
The Associated Press
ALEM, Ore. — As one of his final acts in office,
Oregon’s outgoing governor, John Kitzhaber,
commuted the prison sentence of a young inmate
convicted of attempted murder.
Sang Dao, 25, sentenced to more than 12 years in
prison, will be released this month, more than three years
early. Dao earned a bachelor’s degree from Portland State
University while behind bars, and Kitzhaber’s fiancée,
Cylvia Hayes, spoke at his graduation ceremony last
Hayes was at the center of the ethics controversy that
prompted Kitzhaber to step down last month. She has
been accused of using their relationship to land work for
her consulting firm.
Kitzhaber has denied wrongdoing on both their parts.
The commutation, obtained by The Associated Press,
was signed a day before Kitzhaber handed power to his
successor, Kate Brown. Brown signed the document in her
former role as secretary of state.
It was not immediately clear why Kitzhaber granted
Dao will leave prison March 17. Department of
Corrections records show his earliest possible release date
had been November 2018. His attempted murder
conviction included unlawful use of a weapon and assault.
In earning his degree while at MacLaren Youth
Correctional Facility, however, Dao “took advantage of all
the benefits and the programs that we offered, and he
made the most of them,” spokesman C.J. Drake said.
“His conduct and his reformation while he was with us
was exemplary,” Drake said.
Hayes, speaking at the graduation ceremony, told the
graduates “education is something no one can take from
Dao was transferred in November to a state prison in
Salem when he aged out of the youth correctional system.