Sorry, Austin. Ai Wei Wei’s “Forever Bicycles” is not forever



Sorry, Austin. But Ai Wei Wei’s “Forever Bicycles” is not a forever part of the city.

For two years, the monumental, playful and dizzying sculpture comprised of more than 1,200 “Forever” brand Chinese bicycles has been delighting passers-by along the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake at the Waller Creek Delta.

But the sculpture’s installation was always temporary and now, the last day to enjoy “Forever Bicycles” is May 15. Its presentation has been a collaboration between the Contemporary Austin and the Waller Creek Conservancy.

On May 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can join Waller Creek Conservancy and KMFA Classical 89.5 for the free “Concert on the Creek,” a series of performances and workshops led by Austin musician and artist, Steve Parker. In the midst of the music, you can explore the music-making properties of unusual combinations of sound-makers including bicycles.

Forever brand (Yongjiu) mass-produced bicycles flooded the streets of China during the Ai’s childhood yet remained financially out of reach for many Chinese. The artist has created many iterations of “Forever Bicycles” in many different places, each version site-specific to its location in its number of bicycles, positioning and formation.

While “Forever Bicycles” may be leaving town, you can forever enjoy Ai’s “Iron Tree Trunk,” at the Contemporary’s Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. The museum acquired the cast iron sculpture last year.

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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