Change Author / Owner : Ai Weiwei at Hirshhorn: Demetrion Lecture
Recognized around the world for his extensive practice bridging art and activism, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has spent his career redefining the purpose of art as “the fight for freedom.” Viewed as cultural commentary, his conscience-driven body of work ventures far beyond the art world and into the realm of modern politics, addressing government conflicts, the movement of refugees, incarceration, and perceived injustice. His unorthodox approach to art making and his expanding social media savvy have arguably led to Ai becoming one of the most well-known living artists in the world. His work, although eclectic, is largely built upon his own experiences. Trace, for instance, foregrounds his own experiences of incarceration, interrogation, and surveillance. In 2011, he was detained by the Chinese government for eighty-one days and prohibited from traveling abroad until 2015. In conjunction with the opening of his major new exhibition, "Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn," the Museum is thrilled to host Ai in conversation with Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu for the annual James T. Demetrion Lecture.