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Ai Weiwei

Natural State (solo show)
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, MI
27 January - 20 August 2017

This landmark exhibition, presented by the Daniel & Pamella DeVos Foundation, will feature internationally renowned artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Opening on January 27, 2017, Ai Weiwei at Meijer Gardens: Natural State is his first show in the upper Midwest as well as the first of its kind for the artist at a botanical garden or sculpture park. Ai Weiwei has emerged as one of the definitive cultural voices of the 21st century. Known to work in a wide variety of contexts and scale, his ability to transform materials to share his ideas, concerns and vision has given rise to a critically acclaimed and widely appreciated body of work. Iconic among recent work is his colossal Iron Tree, acquired and installed in 2015 in honor of Meijer Gardens' 20th anniversary.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park


Additional:

Ai Weiwei

Dangerous Art (group show)
Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa
11 November 2017 - 27 May 2018

Political changes in the Western world drove many democratic countries to a constant "state of emergency", which lead to an erosion of citizens' and institutions' rights. The new cluster of exhibitions revolves around artists' response to limitations placed on civil freedom, in Israel and worldwide. The various exhibitions relate to social issues such as the right of protest, women rights, rights of the LGBTQIA community, and the rights of refugees. Many artist use artistic activism as a strategy, and raise the question whether contemporary art has the power to function as an arena of political protest. This in contrast to the common view, according to which the revolutionary spirit is over and every form of criticism domed to undergo castrating censorship.

Today's art world, in Israel and worldwide, evinces an increased interest in the intersection of art and social activism. Known as artivism, this new form of expression aspires to blend art and activism in equal degree. Contemporary art criticism emphasizes the power of art to function as an arena for political protest. Artistic activism, a new phenomenon that has become a staple of our time, is different from the type of critical art that dominated modernist discourse in the 20th century.

Since the beginning of Modernism, artists have endeavored to tackle taboos in radical and groundbreaking ways. Avant-garde art set its sights on "the system": the form of government, the social structure, the distribution of capital, and issues of policing and control. High hopes were hung on the movement's potential to instigate revolution. The current cluster of exhibitions aspires to illustrate subversive artistic practices in a post-revolutionary time, devoid of any possibility for artistic-political protest. In our days, when every form of criticism is immediately negated and appropriated by capitalism, has art lost its power to critique? Or does art, more than ever, find itself in a position to challenge and threaten the political order?

Mostly, the works displayed in this cluster of exhibitions were meant not only to represent the struggle of the oppressed, but also to create a space for activist intervention. The works relate to social spaces in which neoliberalism takes great pride in extending the rights granted to various communities, such as women's rights, LGBTQIA rights, refugee rights, or the rights to protest and self-defense. However, the tolerance attributed to the spirit of liberalism is often of a cynical nature, used as a fig leaf to cover up the exacerbation of social inequality and denial of human rights. The artists featured in this cluster of exhibitions seek to liberate themselves of the ideological stronghold of the political hegemony and expose the unjust antagonism and violence it propagates. In this way, contemporary artists are able to take an active part in redefining the contemporary political discourse.

Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa


Ai Weiwei

ISelf Collection: The Upset Bucket (group show)
Whitechapel Gallery, London
5 December 2017 - 1 April 2018

This display of works by 28 major artists examines how we project our identity through our appearances and consumer choices, ultimately shaping our sense of self in relation to society.

Whitechapel Gallery, London


Ai Weiwei

The New York Times - Art Leaders Network (conference)
Berlin
25-26 April 2018

A Summit for Innovators and Experts

This April 25-26 in Berlin, The New York Times brings together a select group of the world’s most distinguished art experts and influencers - from dealers and gallery owners to museum directors and curators to auction executives and collectors.

The economics and dynamics of the art market are changing faster than ever before; driven by new buying habits, an increasingly global clientele, and ever-higher pricing led by shifts in supply and demand. Devised specifically with art and cultural leaders at its core, the Art Leaders Network program will define and assess the most pressing challenges and opportunities in the industry today.

Through provocative interviews and riveting discussions, senior New York Times journalists will explore myriad topics, from the impact of economic events on the arts to the outlook for galleries in the age of the mega dealer, as well as the future of museums to the undiminished fascination with contemporary art.

This invitation-only gathering will take place in Berlin, a city whose story of renaissance and reinvention mirrors the essence of this groundbreaking event.

The New York Times - Art Leaders Network


Ai Weiwei, Rineke Dijkstra, Thomas Struth et al.

Stage of Being (group show)
Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar
9 December 2017 - 13 May 2018

Who are we? Where do we come from? What are we doing here? Where are we going?

We live in a world of progress: we know more and are capable of more, we live longer than ever before; maybe one day we will even achieve immortality. At the same time, we humans struggle with feelings of emptiness, loneliness and fear. Once, religion and ideology provided guidance and assuaged our doubts. Nowadays, we rely on self-help books, doctors, philosophers and coaches – but above all, on ourselves.

Artists in particular dare to face down the fundamental questions of existence. In fact: the very essence of art might be found in diffusing that existential, human fear. Art can hold up a mirror to mankind. This mirror is sometimes quite direct, raw and confrontational. And sometimes indirect, enshrouded in layers of meaning.

Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar


Ai Weiwei

Inoculation (solo show)
Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires
25 November 2017 - 25 February 2018

Ai Weiwei, Surveillance Camera with Plinth, 2015 © Ai Weiwei Studio
Ai Weiwei, Surveillance Camera with Plinth, 2015 © Ai Weiwei Studio

Ai Weiwei, activist and one of the most outstanding artists, today inaugurates in Proa Foundation an anthological exhibition with the most representative of his works. A tour of pieces that evoke political persecution - constant in his life and work; allegations of violations of human rights; migrations and refugees, among other issues that motivate the historical review and contemporary debate.

Objects, Installations, works in paper, Wallpapers, videos, and its cinematographic production, next to an active program of parallel activities, will construct the universe Ai Weiwei, one of the most representative of the present time.

Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires


Ai Weiwei

Reenacting history_ Collective Actions and Everyday Gestures (group show)
MMCA, Gwacheon
22 September 2017 - 21 January 2018

Reenacting History is an international exhibition that focuses on how the body and gestures can, as an artistic medium, reveal social, historical, and cultural contexts and interest from the 1960s to today. The body is a place in the front line, where “I” form a relationship with others, and a contact zone through which “I” encounter various situations in the world. At the same time, it is a “storehouse of memory,” where the past is inscribed, and a “social place,” where biopolitics function through power, capital, and knowledge. Since the 1960s, many artists who sought to bring the realm of life into art and integrate the two favored the body as an artistic medium, because the body is the fundamental existence of human life from the past to the present.

Representing thirty-eight artists and collectives from Korea and abroad, this exhibition is divided into three parts, based on gestural approaches to our life stories and on artistic attitudes. Part 1, titled “Performing Collective Memory and Culture,” illuminates works that recompose historical memory and cultural heritage through gestures. This section examines actions of Korean performance artists and Japanese avant-garde groups from the 1960 and 70s and how they used gestures to respond to and resist the particular socio-political conditions of the time. Part 2, titled “Everyday Gestures, Social Choreography,” takes the perspective of “social choreography” to cast light on works after the 1960s, which brought everyday gestures into the context of art to highlight issues of reality and life. Part 3, titled “Performing Community,” introduces works that use the body to reenact the social issues of our communities that arose amidst the rise of globalization after the late 1990s, as well as collective performances that involve intimate encounters of bodies and experiment with temporary communities based on collaboration and communication.

The gestures in Reenacting History record history that language failed to write down, history that cannot be summoned by language, and the history of trauma and absence that language cannot possibly bear. For this reason, “writing down history through gestures” could be an “alternative, resistant recording of history.”

MMCA, Gwacheon


Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei. D'ailleurs c'est toujours les autres (solo show)
Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne
22 September 2017 - 28 January 2018

Ai Weiwei, installation view, mcb-a Lausanne, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. Photo: Etienne Malapert © Studio Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei, installation view, mcb-a Lausanne, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. Photo: Etienne Malapert © Studio Ai Weiwei

Recent and monumental works: Ai Weiwei, one of the most significant and influential artists of the last decade, is back in Switzerland. After his very first European solo show at the Bern Kunsthalle in 2004, the Chinese artist has once again accepted an invitation from Bernard Fibicher, director of the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne (mcb-a).

The exhibition in Lausanne is bringing together more than 40 items dating from 1995 up to the present: works in porcelain, wood, marble, jade, glass, bamboo, and silk, together with wallpaper, photographs and videos, all testifying to the rich variety of the artist's work and his profound knowledge of his country's cultural heritage. At the same time – and here we detect a spirit akin to that of Marcel Duchamp – in a playful or iconoclastic way he rechannels his traditional motifs, methods and materials into a critique, overt or covert, of the Chinese political system. His most recent works bear on the troubling complexity of international matters including economic dependency and refugee flows. This mcb-a event hails a true all-rounder: a remarkable visual artist, an encyclopedic mind, a gifted transmitter of ideas and a man coming to grips with the major issues of today's world. Ai Weiwei may well be the first truly "global" artist.

Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne


Ai Weiwei

On Porcelain (solo show)
Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul
12 September 2017 - 28 January 2018

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds (detail), 2010 © Studio Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds (detail), 2010 © Studio Ai Weiwei

With the support of Akbank, Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum will host Ai Weiwei’s first exhibition in Turkey, between the dates 12 September 2017 and 28 January 2018. The exhibition will showcase an extensive selection from the artist’s oeuvre alongside new works. Focusing on Ai Weiwei’s wide-ranging production in the medium of porcelain, the exhibition will present a narrative informed by the artist’s life story and his approach to both the tradition of craftsmanship and art history.

Within the scope of the exhibition, each stage of Ai Weiwei’s prolific journey in porcelain will be presented with his iconic works. Transferring his contemporary message through the language of traditional Chinese craft, Ai Weiwei’s art practice provides the viewer with a perspective on the paradoxes of our time.

The exhibition offers a comprehensive view of Ai Weiwei’s art practice through a structure built through recurrent themes in his works. Dealing with the concepts of authenticity, the transformation of the value systems throughout different eras and cultural history, Ai Weiwei’s works call the viewers’ understanding of cultural, artistic and historical values into question. 

Through his interrogation of the concept of authenticity in the replicas he produces, Ai Weiwei’s works undermine the difference between the copy and the original. Accordingly, he adapts the logic of the Chinese and Greek pottery decoration and Egyptian wall painting to reflect on history and provide us with a comprehensive view of the contemporary world.  With its wide-range and extensive selection of works in the medium of porcelain—the earliest work dates back four decades and the exhibition contains over 100 art works—this exhibition at the Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum stands out as one of the most unique explorations into this singular artist’s practice.

Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul


Ai Weiwei

Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11 (group show)
Imperial War Museum, London
26 October 2017 - 28 May 2018

Ai Weiwei, Surveillance Camera with Marble Stand, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Imperial War Museum, London
Ai Weiwei, Surveillance Camera with Marble Stand, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Imperial War Museum, London

See the UK’s first major exhibition of artists’ responses to war and conflict since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11 will feature more than 40 British and international artists, including Ai Weiwei, Grayson Perry, Gerhard Richter, Jenny Holzer, Mona Hatoum, Alfredo Jaar, Coco Fusco and Jake & Dinos Chapman.

The complex issues surrounding the global response to 9/11, the nature of modern warfare and the continuing state of emergency in which we find ourselves have become compelling subject matter for contemporary artists.

Artists’ unique ways of communicating through their art provide different levels of understanding. The stories they tell, whether first or second-hand, come from alternative viewpoints not always reflected in the mainstream media, often challenge our perceptions.

Through 50 works of art including film, sculpture, painting, installations, photography and prints, many of which will be exhibited publicly in the UK for the first time, this exhibition highlights the crucial role of artists in representing contemporary conflict.

The exhibition will be presented through four key themes: artists’ direct or immediate responses to the events of 9/11; issues of state surveillance and security; our complex relationship with firearms, bombs and drones and the destruction caused by conflict on landscape, architecture and people.

Imperial War Museum, London


Ai Weiwei

Extra Bodies – The Use of the «Other Body» in Contemporary Art (group show)
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich
18 November 2017 - 4 February 2018

Ai Weiwei, Fairytale People, 2007 Courtesy: the artist; Leister Foundation, Switzerland; Erlenmeyer Stiftung, Switzerland and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne
Ai Weiwei, Fairytale People, 2007 Courtesy: the artist; Leister Foundation, Switzerland; Erlenmeyer Stiftung, Switzerland and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne

The exhibition sheds light on a phenomenon in art that first rises to prominence in the 1990s and then explodes in the early years of the new millennium: the artistic practice of resorting to and deploying ‘extra bodies.’ Artists select these ‘other bodies’ because of their specific social or biosocial role—which is why they may also be characterized as extras. All works on view share a basic ‘performative’ or ‘theatrical’ quality. Strikingly, the viewer is neither drawn into the action nor invited to participate. Unlike many artistic productions discussed under the rubric of relational aesthetics, these pieces do not demand his active engagement. Taking up both exhibition floors at the museum, the extensive group exhibition featuring numerous works from the collection scrutinizes the various modes in which extras with their social and biosocial roles are presented, and function, in art.

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich


Ai Weiwei

Trace at Hirshhorn (solo show)
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
28 June 2017 - 1 January 2018

Ai Weiwei, installation view, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2017. Photo: Cathy Carver. Courtesy the artist and Hirshhorn Museum.
Ai Weiwei, installation view, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2017. Photo: Cathy Carver. Courtesy the artist and Hirshhorn Museum.

One of China’s most provocative living artists, Ai Weiwei (b. Beijing, 1957) has spent nearly four decades exploring the relationships between art, society, and individual experience. His work, as prolific as it is eclectic, encompasses a wide range of media, including sculpture, installation, photography, film, painting, and architecture. Ai Weiwei began seeking to incite change through his art in the late 1970s, and as his work has developed, he has become increasingly committed to his guiding principle of promoting human rights and freedom of expression for all.

Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation Trace portrays individuals from around the world whom the artist and various human rights groups consider to be activists, prisoners of conscience, and advocates of free speech. Each of these 176 portraits comprises thousands of plastic LEGO® bricks, assembled by hand and laid out on the floor. The work foregrounds Ai Weiwei’s own experiences of incarceration, interrogation, and surveillance. In 2011, he was detained by the Chinese government for eighty-one days and then prohibited from traveling abroad until 2015.  In 2012, the Hirshhorn opened Ai’s first major US retrospective, Ai Weiwei: According to What?, which he was unable to attend.

Originally commissioned in 2014, Trace first opened as part of @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz, a site-specific takeover of the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco, a collaboration between the nonprofit FOR-SITE Foundation, the National Park Service and the Golden Gate Park Conservancy.

Like Ai Weiwei, the individuals represented in Trace have been detained, exiled, or have sought political asylum because of their actions, beliefs, or affiliations. The subjects were chosen by Ai Weiwei and reflect his response to information provided by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, as well as his own independent research.

As part of this installation, Ai Weiwei has created a new 360-degree wallpaper installation entitled The Plain Version of the Animal That Looks Like a Llama but Is Really an Alpaca. At first glance, the pattern looks merely decorative, but a closer inspection reveals surveillance cameras, handcuffs, and Twitter bird logos, which allude to Ai Weiwei’s tweets challenging authority. Together, the massive works span nearly 700 feet around the Hirshhorn’s third floor Outer Ring galleries.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.


Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei (solo show)
Various locations, The Contemporary Austin, Austin
3 June 2017 - ongoing

Ai Weiwei, installation view, 2017. Courtesy the artist and the Contemporary Austin.
Ai Weiwei, installation view, 2017. Courtesy the artist and the Contemporary Austin.

The Contemporary Austin and Waller Creek Conservancy announce an upcoming two-part outdoor exhibition of large-scale installations by Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, to go on view to the public beginning June 3, 2017, as part of The Contemporary Austin’s partnership with Waller Creek Conservancy and its Museum Without Walls program. The project is made possible by the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation and represents the second collaboration between The Contemporary Austin and Waller Creek Conservancy.

The works include the striking installation Forever Bicycles, 2014, installed by The Contemporary Austin at the Waller Delta (74 Trinity Street, Austin, Texas), and Iron Tree Trunk, 2015, on view at The Contemporary Austin’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria (3809 West 35th Street, Austin, Texas). The public opening for both works by Ai Weiwei will be celebrated with free family-friendly art activities and refreshments on Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to noon at the sculpture Forever Bicycles at the Waller Delta. Both works will remain on view as long-term loans.

The Contemporary Austin, Austin


Ai Weiwei

Amsterdam Light Festival (group show)
Amsterdam
30 November 2017 - 21 January 2018

Amsterdam Light Festival is an annual light art festival in the city center of Amsterdam. Light art is a relatively young art form that experiences a great growth because of the LED revolution. Light is a versatile and highly visual ‘material’ that can be used both abstract and figurative. Both forms are reflected in the artworks of the festival.

Amsterdam Light Festival, Amsterdam


Ai Weiwei

21st Biennale of Sydney (group show)
Various locations, Sydney
16 March - 11 June 2018

“The curatorial premise of the 21st Biennale of Sydney is an exhibition that will explore multiple viewpoints in search of a state of equilibrium. With a holistic view, the Biennale will also seek in-depth engagement with individuals and communities while exploring a range of perspectives and meanings of abstractions.

“The exhibition will be a journey; a walk through microcosms of the world today based on the stratum of history, human knowledge, emotions, desires and beliefs, as well as the mysteries of natural phenomena and the whole of the universe.”

21st Biennale of Sydney


Ai Weiwei

Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads (solo show)
Bayfront Gardens, The Ringling, Sarasota, FL
9 June 2017 - 1 June 2018

Ai Weiwei, Zodiac Heads, Installation view in New York, 2011
Ai Weiwei, Zodiac Heads, Installation view in New York, 2011

The Ringling is pleased to announce the presentation of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s 12 monumental bronze sculptures, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads.  A sculptor, photographer, installation artist, architect, and social activist, Ai is one of the most renowned artists working today.

Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads was inspired by the fabled fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan, an 18th-century imperial retreat just outside Beijing. Designed in the 18th century by two European Jesuits at the behest of the Manchu Emperor Qianlong, the fountain-clock featured the animals of the Chinese zodiac, each spouting water at two hour intervals. In 1860, the Yuanming Yuan was ransacked by French and British troops, and the heads were pillaged.

Seven out of the 12 animal heads in Ai’s piece are based on the original fountain works that have been discovered—rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, horse, monkey, and boar. The remaining five are the artist’s reimagining of the currently missing artifacts—dragon, snake, goat, rooster, and dog. The dual title of the work addresses the artist’s desire that the piece be relatable on many different levels and to people who may not know the original sculpture’s history.

In re-interpreting these objects on an oversized scale, Ai Weiwei focuses attention on questions of looting and repatriation, while extending his ongoing exploration of the 'fake' and the copy in relation to the original. He states that each piece is “a copy of an original, but not an exact copy—something that has its own sensitive layer of languages, which are different, and that bears the mark of our time.”

The 12 bronze Zodiac Heads stand on bronze columns. Each animal head measures approximately 4 feet high and 3 feet wide. The animal heads on their columns reach between 9.8 and 12 feet high, with each one weighing approximately 800 lbs. This group of works, (including a smaller copy in gold) has been exhibited worldwide since the official launch of the Zodiac Heads in 2011, making it one of the most viewed sculpture projects in the history of contemporary art.

The Ringling, Sarasota


Ai Weiwei

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors (solo show)
Public Art Fund, Various locations, New York
12 October 2017 - 11 February 2018

Ai Weiwei Arch, 2017. Photo: Jason Wyche. Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio/ Frahm & Frahm and Public Art Fund, New York
Ai Weiwei Arch, 2017. Photo: Jason Wyche. Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio/ Frahm & Frahm and Public Art Fund, New York

This October, as a highlight of its 40th anniversary in 2017, Public Art Fund presents Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, a timely new exhibition across multiple boroughs by world-renowned artist Ai Weiwei. Inspired by the international migration crisis and tense sociopolitical battles surrounding the issue in the United States and worldwide, the artist has conceived of this ambitious, multi-site project as a way of transforming the metal wire security fence into a powerful artistic symbol. By installing fences in varying, site-specific forms at locations across the city – including sites like the New York City Economic Development Corporation-managed Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art on Astor Place, JCDecaux bus shelters in Brooklyn in partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation, Doris C. Freedman Plaza at Central Park and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens both in partnership with NYC Parks, and numerous others throughout the city – Ai will create striking installations that draw attention to the role of the fence as both a physical manifestation and metaphorical expression of division. In this way, he will explore one of society’s most urgent issues, namely the psychic and physical barriers that divide us, which is at the heart of debates about immigration and refugees today.

Public Art Fund, New York