The Royal Academy of Arts in London launched a crowdfunding appeal on Wednesday for an installation by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei that would see its courtyard filled with giant reconstructed trees. The world-famous gallery hopes to raise £100,000 (142,000 euros, $156,000) on Kickstarter to display eight trees that Ai has assembled from parts of dead trees collected in the mountains of southern China. It is thought to be the first time a major British arts institution has used crowdfunding in this way, although an exhibition by Ai on Alcatraz Island in the United States last year also turned to Kickstarter. ‘It’s a calculated risk, but it’s one worth taking,’ artistic programmes director Tim Marlow told AFP, adding that he was ‘quietly confident’ they would raise the money. The installation will be free and will complement a major, ticketed exhibition of Ai’s work at the RA which runs from September to December.

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