Buyers sought for Yue Minjun’s A-maze-ing Laughter biennale sculpture
The Vancouver Biennale may have been given the go-ahead by the city and park board to keep Yue Minjun’s A-maze-ing Laughter at Morton Park, but the sculpture’s final resting place is still not assured.
On April 16, the park board formally accepted the long-term loan or donation of the work, but although earlier media reports said anonymous donors had agreed to cover its $1.5-million purchase price (which the artist has reduced from $5 million), Vancouver Biennale marketing director Miriam Blume said that so far only about $25,000 has been raised.
“We’re very optimistic we’re going to get the funding. You can imagine in the last couple of months since we’ve announced this we’ve been pounding the pavement and have had conversations with a lot of prospective donors,” explained Blume, who said it is the Biennale’s intention to donate the work to the city’s public-art collection after its purchase. “We were waiting for city and parks board approval before we launched a major campaign.”
The Biennale will also need to find approximately $250,000 for the sculpture’s maintenance, insurance, and site landscaping.
Blume said the Biennale has until the end of August to raise the artwork’s purchase price. If it does not succeed, the sculpture will be returned to Beijing.
As for whether any other Biennale sculptures are likely to remain in the city under similar conditions, Blume said, “We still have other sculptures that are for sale, and we continue to talk to international buyers, some of whom are in Vancouver or Canada, many of whom aren’t.”