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Posts Tagged ‘Ai Weiwei

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Back in June, we saw an intimate Brooklyn screening of Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a powerful documentary about the Chinese artist and activist, and concluded that Ai could teach contemporary artists a few things. The movie has since played theaters nationally and enjoyed wide critical acclaim. After a recent screening of the film in Providence, FP’s Jordan Mainzer interviewed director Alison Klayman via phone to discuss the film and Ai’s profound influence.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry explores Ai as an artist who provokes the Chinese political machine. Like a good journalist, he’s a whistleblower who, through his art, investigates and questions those in society with economic, political, and social power. The tension behind Ai seems to consist of whether his status as a whistleblower is more shaped by his perception of the artist’s role in society or by the political environment in which he exists.

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(Read this article in English)

艾未未是中国和世界著名的艺术家和活动家。把他和活跃在纽约布鲁克林的画家,摄影家,和雕塑家们做比较并不合适。但是艾未未, 一位纪录片中的主人公,和几十位参加Northside艺术节的布鲁克林艺术家们之间的反差却折射出当代艺术的可能突破和缺陷。特别是观看了纪录片:艾未未:永远不说抱歉之后,我开始思考和质疑在Northside艺术节上看到的作品的深度和内涵。


如 果艺术家们顾虑从艾未未这里能学到什么,那或许该从新审视一下艾的成就。2010年,ArtReview杂志的100名最有影响力的艺术家排名中,艾未未 名列第十三位。2011年,艾出现在时代杂志年度人物的候选名单中。同年,他和缅甸的昂山素季,沙特的女权活动家马纳尔谢里夫一起,被人权基金会授予首届 瓦茨拉夫·哈韦尔奖,以表彰他和她们创造性的抗争。还有,艾拥有150000Twitter追随者(@aiww)。

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Ai Weiwei with “Sunflower Seeds” at the Tate Modern


It may seem unfair to compare one of the most renowned artists and activists in China –and the world– to aspiring American painters, photographers, and sculptors. But the contrast between Ai Weiwei, the subject of a new documentary that screened last week in Williamsburg, and the dozen or so Brooklyn artists whose work I saw in Williamsburg and Greenpoint the prior weekend, could not be more severe. In the eight days of music, film, and art that comprised the Northside Festival, the documentary about Ai and the studio tour spoke to both the possibilities and pitfalls of contemporary art.

While I enjoyed the Northside Art as a casual fan and relished the chance to skulk inside apartments, studios, galleries, and warehouses in North Brooklyn, seeing the film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry a few days latermade me question the art’s depth. The epiphany reminded me of how I questioned Mexican food in New York after visiting Texas and California. (Stay tuned for the actual Mexico trip). In the film, which packed the house at Union Docs on June 21, Ai comes across as a master conceptual artist and tireless crusader for social justice. While his work is not always literal, it always communicates a clear message. In retrospect, the Northside artists made mostly abstract work that focused on color, light, and shadow, but did not convey much deeper meaning. If Ai’s work looked outward, his Brooklyn brethren looked decidedly inward.

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