Ai Weiwei’s Interlacing: A Chinese Activist’s Photographs and Videos

Ai Weiwei, Dropping a Han-Dynasty Urn, 1995

Ai Weiwei, June 1994, 1994

Ai Weiwei, Ai Weiwei, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 1983

Ai Weiwei, Anton Wei, Lorimer Avenue Apartment, Brooklyn, 1983

Ai Weiwei, Study of Perspective, Tiananmen, 1998

Ai Weiwei’s Interlacing: A Chinese Activist’s Photographs and Videos

Interlacing is the first major exhibition of collected works by China’s renowned dissident artist Ai Weiwei, currently on display at Zurich’s Fotomuseum Winterthur. The collection consists of an extensive selection of photographs, videos and explanatory essays that present the interweaving artist as a network, company, activist, political voice, social container and agent provocateur.

Ai Weiwei is a generalist, conceptual, socially critical artist dedicated to creating friction with/and forming reality. As an architect, conceptual artist, sculptor, photographer, blogger, Twitterer, interview artist, and cultural critic, he is a sensitive observer of current topics and social problems: a great communicator and networker who brings life into art and art into life. Ai Weiwei deliberately confronts social conditions in China and in the world in ways that have captured an international audience.

In 2003, Ai Weiwei played a major role, together with the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, in the construction of the Olympic stadium, the so-called “Bird’s Nest.” Subsequently, he publicly repudiated the project and the whole Olympic buildup as a preposterous fraud to put on a “good face” for the international community. In 2007, 1001 Chinese visitors traveled, at his instigation, to Documenta 12 (Fairytale) in Kassel, Germany. In 2010, the world marveled at his large, yet formally minimal carpet of millions of hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds at the Tate Modern.

Chinese officials announced in May, 2011, that the authorities were investigating Ai Weiwei on suspicion of tax evasion, after police officers had taken him from the main Beijing airport on April 3rd as he prepared to board a flight to Hong Kong. A global outcry went out, blasting the Chinese government for what was deemed a politically motivated move, claiming that the tax inquiry was a pretext to silence one of the most vocal critics of the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese legal authorities finally released Ai Weiwei on June 22nd, after a three-month detention, apparently ending a prosecution that had become a focal point of criticism of China’s eroding human rights record. Nevertheless, the terms of his release may silence him for months or even years.

Ai Weiwei: Interlacing

Ai Weiwei: New York Photographs (with English subtitles)

Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry

Photo-Gallery: Ai Weiwei’s Interlacing/A Chinese Activist’s Photographs and Videos

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Cy Twombly: Scratching and Scribbling to the Heights of Abstract Expressionism

Cy Twombly, 2005

Wilder Shores of Love, Bassano in Teverina, 1985

Ferragosto IV, 1961

School of Athens, 1964

Lepanto, 2001

Cy Twombly: Scratching and Scribbling to the Heights of Abstract Expressionism

Cy Twombly (1928-2011), whose spare, delicate scratching and scribbling, odd marks, raw smudges, and gorgeous visceral color with intimations of myth, narrative and poetic engagement with antiquity left him often ignored by the movements of postwar American art, even as he eventually became one of the era’s most significant painters, died on Tuesday in Rome. He was 83.

His artistic career roguishly subverted Abstract Expressionism, dipped briefly into Minimalism, barely acknowledged Pop art, but anticipated some of the concerns of Conceptualism, Mr. Twombly was a polarizing figure in the art world almost from the beginning. His work has been described by one important art curator as “influential among artists, discomfiting to many critics and truculently difficult not just for a broad public, but for sophisticated initiates of postwar art as well.”

Twombly left New York City and moved permanently to southern Italy in 1957 and paid little heed to his many critics, who questioned constantly whether his work really deserved a place at the forefront of 20th century abstraction. The low point for Twombly probably came after a widely panned 1964 exhibition in New York, which one critic described as a blatant fiasco. However, he lived long enough to see his work receive new-found attention and a degree of critical favor he had never enjoyed before. By the 1990s, he had become highly sought after not only by European museums and collectors, who had appreciated his work early on, but also by those back in the United States who had not known what to make of him two decades before.

During the final decade of his life, Twombly surpassed his earlier body of work, making tremendous late abstract works telling tales of ancient armies, otherworldly invasions of burning suns and radiating chrysanthemums. His works from this later period invoked twelfth-century dynasties, exoduses, love, loss and longing. He had launched upon a creative journey to some artistic place where the deepest of feelings, experiences, expectations, dreams, and love become one.

Read more about Cy Twombly in The New York Times here.

Tributes Flow After Death of Artist Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly: Lepanto-Cycle at Museum Brandhorst, Munich

Slide Show: Cy Twombly/Scribbling to the Heights of Abstract Expressionism

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