Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

Infobox Artist
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name = Ai Weiwei

imagesize = 220px
caption = Ai Weiwei
birthname =
birthdate = 1957
location = flagicon|China Beijing, China
deathdate =
deathplace =
nationality = Chinese
field =
training =
movement =
works =
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Ai Weiwei (Chinese: ), born in 1957 in Beijing, is a leading Chinese artist, curator, architectural designer, cultural and social commentator. [cite web|url=|title=Ai Weiwei|work=Wolseley Media|year=2008|accessdate=2008-07-06] cite web|author=Cooper, Rafi|url=,,2289411,00.html|title=Cultural revolutionary|work=The Observer|date=2008-07-06|accessdate=2008-07-06]

Life and work

Born in Beijing, his father was Chinese poet Ai Qing, who was denounced during the Cultural Revolution and sent off to a labor camp in Xinjiang with his wife, Gao Ying. Ai Weiwei also spent five years there. Ai Weiwei is married to artist Lu Qing.cite web|author=Meacham, Steve|url=|title=Child of the revolution in revolt|work=Sydney Morning Herald|date=2008-04-24|accessdate=2008-07-06]

In 1978, Ai enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy and attended school with Chinese directors Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou. [cite web|author=Blackwell, Adrian|url=|title=Ai Weiwei: Fragments, Voids, Sections and Rings|work=Archinect|date=2006-12-05|accessdate=2008-07-06] In 1978, he was one of the founders of the early avant garde art group the "Stars". The group subsequently disbanded in 1983.cite web|url=|title=Ai Weiwei|work=Groninger Museum|date=2008-02-28|accessdate=2008-07-06]

From 1981 to 1993, he lived in the United States, mostly in New York, doing performance art and creating conceptual art by altering readymade objects. While in New York, he studied at Parsons School of Design. [cite web|author=Aloi, Daniel|url=|title=Ai Weiwei literally smashes China's traditions in art and architecture|work=Cornell University|date=2006-11-15|accessdate=2008-07-06]

In 1993, Ai returned to China because his father took ill. [cite web|author=Toy, Mary-Anne|url=|title=The artist as an angry man|work=The Age|date=2008-01-19|accessdate=2008-07-06] Back in Beijing, he helped establish the experimental artists' East Village and published a series of three books about this new generation of artists: "Black Cover Book" (1994), "White Cover Book" (1995), and "Gray Cover Book" (1997). [cite book|last=Napack|first=Jonathan|title=Ai Weiwei: Works Beijing 1993-2003|publisher=Timezone 8|date=2004-08-02|pages=148|isbn=9889726289] In 2000 he co-curated the exhibition "Fuck Off" with curator Feng Boyi in Shanghai, China. [cite web|author=Vulliamy, Ed|url=|title=The nest generation|work=The Observer|date=2008-06-29|accessdate=2008-07-06]

In 2006 he designed a private residence in the Hudson Valley region of New York, and the house is designed around a significant contemporary Chinese art collection. [cite web|author=Nicholson, Louise|url=|title=Art to live with|work=Apollo|date=2006-11-01|accessdate=2008-07-06]

Ai was the artistic consultant for design, collaborating with the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, for the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics, also known as the "Bird's Nest." [cite web|url=|title=Artist behind Beijing's 'bird's nest' stadium boycotts Olympics|work=CBC News|date=2007-08-11|accessdate=2008-07-06] Although ignored by the Chinese media, he has voiced his anti-Olympics views. He has distanced himself from the project, saying, "I've already forgotten about it. I turn down all the demands to have photographs with it," saying it is part of a "pretend smile" of bad taste. [cite web|url=|title=Stadium designer blasts China Olympics|work=Al Jazeera|date=2007-08-12|accessdate=2008-07-06] [cite web|url=|title=Chinese architect slams Olympic 'pretend smile'|work=CNN|date=2007-08-13|accessdate=2008-07-06] In August 2007 he also accused those choreographing the Olympic opening ceremony, including Steven Spielberg and Zhang Yimou, of failing to live up to their responsibility as artists. Ai said "It's disgusting. I don't like anyone who shamelessly abuses their profession, who makes no moral judgment." [cite web|author=Watts, Jonathan|url=|title=Olympic artist lashes out over PRC propaganda|work=Taipei Times|date=2007-08-11|accessdate=2008-07-06] While being asked why he participated in the designing of the Bird's nest, Ai replied "I did it because I love design".


His artwork has been exhibited extensively in Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and the United States. His work was included in the 48th Venice Biennale 1999, Italy; the First Guangzhou Triennial 2002, China; "Zones of Contact: 2006 Biennale of Sydney"; and Documenta 12.


External links

* [ Ai Weiwei's official site]
* [ Ai Weiwei's blog]
* [ Ai Weiwei interview] from "The New York Times", August 4, 2008

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