Indianapolis Museum of Art exhibits works of Ai Weiwei

April 18, 2013 by  

Residents of Indianapolis, Indiana, and the surrounding area now have the opportunity to see the work of Chinese activist and artist Ai Weiwei. An exhibit of his work opened Friday, April 5, 2013, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Ai uses art as his medium to challenge Chinese politics, culture, and history, often with uncomfortable results. One of his works earned him 81 days’ detainment in 2011, and he remains under constant surveillance by the Chinese government.

The exhibit will feature more than 30 of Ai’s creations, which go back some 20 years. The exhibition is called ‘Ai Weiwei: According to What?’ and explores topics of universal importance. Ai’s work includes video, photography, and sculpture, but he is probably best known for designing the stadium, called the ‘Bird’s Nest’, for the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing.

One of his works is called ‘Straight’ and memorializes the children who were killed in a 2008 earthquake in Szechuan Province. Ai believes that shoddy construction of the region’s schoolhouses led to the unnecessary deaths, so he collected rebar from the destroyed sites and straightened it in his Beijing studio. He then assembled the rebar, nearly 38 tons of it, into one massive piece and displayed it next to the names of the children who were killed in the quake.

Exhibit organizers could work with brochure printers to create a catalog that describes the exhibits, as well as Ai’s reasons for creating them. Catalog printing would give viewers an insight into the artist’s worldview.

The exhibit runs through July 21 and, although museum admission is free, there is a fee for special exhibits.