Ai Weiwei

China, 1957

Existing at the complex intersection of conceptual art and social activism, Ai Weiwei can be also be considered a filmmaker, architect, and curator. Ai’s early work in New York focused heavily on ready-mades and found objects. After returning to Beijing, Ai collected old furniture, building artifacts, and Chinese ceramics to change the context of each object. Open in his criticism of the Chinese government, Ai’s best known works are conceptual installations that spark a dialogue between traditional Chinese ideas and the contemporary art world. By juxtaposing fundamentally different ideas of thought, consumerism, and production, Ai’s work challenges the loss of individual identity and privacy in mass culture.

Born in Beijing, China, in 1957, Ai's first North American museum retrospective was at Hirshhorn Museum in 2013. Ai has been curating and creating museum installations around the globe including the Musée national d'art moderne, Paris; Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Modern, London; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Ai lives and works in the Art District of Dashanz in Beijing.

Image: Photo by Hafenbar