Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ai Weiwei "According to What"

Dan's Red 1965 Buick Riviera 
 Keith and I were treated to a ride to and from the Hirshhorn Art Museum yesterday in Dan Murray's 1965 Buick Riviera. One of his three vintage automobiles. It's always fun to ride in them as long as I am strapped in I feel safe but with all that metal on the dash and power under the hood it makes me feel a bit anxious. We went to see an exhibition I heard from an art pal was suppose to be very good. Ai Weiwei is maybe the most famous Chinese contemporary artist know all throughout the west. He is best known as the designer of the Bird's Nest stadium from the 2008 Summer Olympics. He has been a sort of agitator and dissident and follows a long tradition of poet activists pushing for greater personal freedoms in his culture. I have been following his life the last few years since he  has been getting in trouble with the powers of the Communist government. He spent his formative years in the same part of lower east village NYC I did and in the show there were a string of black and white photos from those early days in 1983-93. Showing the same Pyramid Club I frequented.
Dan's driving us downtown to the Hirshhorn to see the Ai Weiwei retrospective exhibition. 

It is fun riding in his vintage cars. Waiting at intersections people often comment  and gesture. 

What no seat belts in the back? Yikes don't hit the brakes too hard Dan. 
 The first thing we saw once we arrived was the twelve Chinese Zodiac heads he made in the courtyard of the museum around the drained fountain. Very impressive bronze busts on pole stands. We played tourists and posed by our signs but Dan wasn't sure which he was and there were no guides that we saw. I was lucky that recently in a Chinese restaurant with my mom we sorted out ours together off the printed paper place mats while waiting for our egg rolls!
Dan thought he was born under the Cock but it turns out he was in the year of the Monkey 1956

Frederick born under the Ram 1955

Keith born under the Dragon 1964 
It was a very exciting exhibition. Large and impressive works featuring the crafts of China put to work in a larger way than pure craft alone. Thought provoking and clever. I won't spoil it by trying to describe them here in words. I didn't photograph the installations because I don't think photos would do them justice. I recommend you plan a trip in the next couple weeks if you possibly can or watch for his work or documentaries on it on the internet. Ai Weiwei will be in the news again... He thrives on getting his ideas out into the ether.

Link to previews of the show at Hirshhorn Museum:
Ai Weiwei According to What 

Link to a good introduction to Ai Weiwei documentary:

BBC:艾未未专题纪录片(Ai Weiwei, Without Fear or Favor)

1 comment:

Jessie said...

Lucky, lucky you!! I would LOVE to have a friend pick me up for a cruise to an art exhibit in a sweet ride like that! Some day...