ai weiwei



In His Largest LEGO Work Yet, Ai Weiwei Recreates One of Claude Monet’s Most Famous Paintings

March 23, 2023

Kate Mothes

Known for incorporating recognizable, everyday objects into monumental sculptures, Ai Weiwei (previously) has created acclaimed installations using bicycles, life vests, and seeds and flowers made of porcelain that often challenge political issues such as the social unrest of his native China, the global refugee crisis, and themes of liberty and freedom of speech. Since 2014, he has utilized LEGO as a medium but not without some controversy along the way due…

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Ai Weiwei Has Designed Face Masks to Raise Funds for COVID-19 Relief

May 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

A defiant middle finger, a heap of sunflower seeds, and various mythical creatures are all silk-screened in black ink on the blue cloth backdrops of nonsurgical masks. The artworks the most recent intervention by artist and activist Ai Weiwei (previously) to help raise money for organizations directly involved with combating the coronavirus pandemic. Inspired by a documentary he's making about COVID-19, the artist decided to create an entire collection after printing his iconic middle finger onto one of the disposable cloths. "An individual wearing a mask makes a gesture; a society wearing…

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Ai Weiwei On the Humanitarian Crisis Captured in His Documentary ‘Human Flow’

November 1, 2019

This interview was recorded on Monday, April 30, 2018, in Chicago and has been edited for brevity and clarity. Our editor Christopher Jobson sat down with Ai Weiwei while he was touring his documentary Human Flow, a film that documents the human refugee crisis spanning 20 countries in stunning scale. Christopher: Human Flow captures conflicts that have been ongoing for 10-15 years, and even much longer in the making. Was there a moment or incident where you said this film needs to be made? Ai: Yes. I had been paying attention to the refugee crisis since 2014. At that time…

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26 Contemporary Chinese Artists Explore Materiality in ‘Allure of Matter’

February 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

CHICAGO—Containing a massive paper wave, a tower of leftover fat, and a tiger-skin rug of 500,000 cigarettes, The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China encompasses 48 works from 26 contemporary Chinese artists in an exhibition on view now in Chicago. Focused on the materiality of seemingly every day objects, the exhibition prompted artists to explore how substances like tobacco, plastics, and Coca-Cola could be fashioned anew. “Taken together, the…

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Bathroom Fixtures at Alcatraz Transformed into Porcelain Floral Bouquets by Ai Weiwei

November 6, 2014

Johnny Waldman

The Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei currently has an exhibition on Alcatraz, the notorious island used as a military fortress and federal penitentiary. Amongst a large body of work created specifically for Alcatraz is “Blossom,” which has been installed in several hospital ward cells and medical offices. And as its name suggests, intricately detailed encrustations of ceramic flowers are blossoming out of sinks, toilets and tubs that were once used by hospitalized prisoners. The curator offers two possibilities in interpreting Ai’s porcelain blossoms: a symbolic offering…

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Colossal Needs You!—Introducing Membership

November 6, 2019

Christopher Jobson

Since launching Colossal nine years ago, I’ve taken great pride in focusing the site entirely on art and artists. For the first several years Colossal didn’t have advertising—the site was a labor of love. We were lucky to see traffic skyrocket, but with that increased audience came increased server costs and it became necessary to introduce a few ad banners. Colossal quickly grew into a flourishing arts publication that employs several full and part-time staff as editors, contributing writers, and (always paid) interns. Every single day I wake up to write, edit, curate, and publish. It’s a dream realized. We…

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