AI WEIWEI @ THE HIRSCHHORN MUSEUM : 10-07-2012 / 02-24-2013
Hirshhorn Presents “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” First North American Survey of Provocative Chinese Artist’s Work October 7, 2012 to February 24, 2013
I first became interested in Ai Weiwei’s art when I saw the documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, winner of Sundance Film Festival. In the documentary, he criticizes the Chinese government’s censorship and its legal system through his installations, sculptures, photographs and videos.
Personally, I think the most important artists who will remain after they are gone are those who document the history of what happened in their own time and era, as Ai Weiwei does. For example, in his sculpture, titled Wenchuan Steel Rebar (2008 – 2012), Ai Weiwei had to salvage steel bars from schools that collapsed during the 2008 Sichauan earthquake. His use of steel bars, along with using backpacks of the school children, emphasize the poor construction of the schools, which caused them to collapse while other buildings stayed intact.
For certain, Ai Weiwei is the artist of our generation. His voice is loud enough for everyone to hear, even when he is gone. In this exhibition, consisting of over thirty of Ai Weiwei’s works from over twenty years, he examines human rights, social justice, culture, politics and traditions of his land in the most provocative way.