We’re all aware of the lavish furnishing of a bearskin rug, but have you ever seen a tiger-print rug made out of 500,000 cigarettes? China’s renowned contemporary artist Xu Bing has worked on tobacco-related projects for over ten years. Bing’s works of art, inspired by the nicotine-rich leaves, began in 2000 at Duke University.
Over a decade later, the imaginative artist is now exhibiting the third and final installment of his trilogy, known as Tobacco Project. This 440-pound rug is only one piece of his current series. The entire exhibit explores global trade, packaging, marketing, and the irony of subliminal seduction in advertising for a potentially life-threatening product. Bing’s work is running now through December 4, 2011 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and will be moved to the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut in January 2012.