A must see exhibition includes examples from the board spectrum of the artist’s practice, which encompasses sculpture, photography, video, and site-specific installations as well as his contributions to the design of the “Bird’s Nest” stadium of the 2008 Summer Olympics in China. Ai Weiwei is known as one of China’s most provocative and vocal artists; his focus on human rights and social change eventually led to his detainment by Chinese authorities for nearly three months in 2011. The Chinese government later charged Ai Weiwei of tax evasion, which he vehemently denies. Since his detainment, Ai Weiwei has been kept under constant surveillance by the government of China- a circumstance that has led him to create a series of new works which are part of this exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
For artists and intellectual today, what is most needed is to be clear about social responsibility, because that’s what most people automatically give up. Just to protect yourself as an individual is very political. You don’t have to march on Tiananmen, but you have to be clear-minded, to find your own means of expression. -Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei: According to What? Also includes a new sculpture made from the steel rebar that was salvaged from schools destroyed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The piece points to the inferior construction that caused the government-built schools to collapse while other buildings survived the earthquake. Straight (2008-2012) is a powerful indictment of the Chinese government and monumental reminder of the many young people who died in the earthquake. Dig deeper into the artist’s biography and his artistic practice and you will discover why he is one of my human rights heroes!
My work as a teaching artist and my artistic practice is a way to show the world how I feel about the world! It is amazing, I train artists to be thinkers, who are comfortable in any environment. Years ago, a respected professor of mine at Indiania University described my artistic vision as "Barlowism".